Last year I was talking to a new friend at a conference when he mentioned he’d lost 80lbs. The guy in front of me was quite fit and I was shocked. I never would have guessed that he was so overweight before! Still surprised, I asked, “How’d you do it?”
With a slightly confused look, as though he was stating the most obvious thing in the world, he replied, “I decided to eat less.”
In today’s world of tips, tricks, fads, and life hacks I was expecting a special strategy. With Keto, Paleo, Atkins, intermittent fasting, and everything else there had to be a secret method! But no, he simply knew that burning more calories than he consumed would result in losing weight. He stopped pretending that he wasn’t in control. That his body needed to be tricked into creating the outcome that his mind wanted.
Now, habits do matter. Setting aside dedicated time to write each morning will make you more likely to publish. Scheduling time to go to the gym or finding a partner will make you more likely to show up. Tracking a chain will remind you to be consistent. Create your environment and form the right habits necessary to succeed. Habits are how you’ll sustain positive change long term.
But we shouldn’t underestimate willpower.
“I decided to eat less.”
My friend realized it was important to him to change that about himself. He also noticed that his intentions and his actions didn’t match. So he made a conscious decision—he asserted his own will—to make that change.
Last October I decided I would publish every Monday until the end of the year. I ended up publishing every week for 32 weeks in a row! Unfortunately a board meeting and hosting a conference back to back made me so busy that I broke my streak in May. This blog has been quiet ever since.
Last night I finished playing a soccer game at 9:00. After putting the kids to bed I was ready to eat a snack and wind down for the evening. After opening the fridge I remembered my friend and his lesson on willpower from a year earlier. I closed the fridge. I’m working to lose weight and one way I’ve been eating less is to cut out the last meal of the day. No, I don’t mean dinner, I mean the late night snack just before heading to bed.
This morning I sat down to write this post and restart my publishing streak. I have goals I want to hit and I know the systems and habits I need to form. But most importantly, I have the willpower to make myself show up consistently.