Willpower is for Losers (4 Steps to a Mindset Shift)

Willpower is for Losers

Have you tried using willpower to quit unhealthy habits? I suspect you have.

I remember a time when I was trying to quit smoking (yes a I used to smoke, despite
being a ‘health expert’. Apparently not everyone is perfect).

I have a stubborn personality type and I knew I didn’t want to smoke anymore. I
thought I could just stop whenever I wanted. I would use willpower.

I eventually decided I would quit, but this plan failed. I just couldn’t stop picking up
another cigarette. Going more than a few hours without smoking was unbearable.

I would say that trying to use willpower to stop was worse than just accepting my fate
as a smoker.

That feeling of desperately wanting to smoke. The agitation. That awkwardness in
social situations.

I felt completely lost and frustrated. I would always go back to smoking.

I also found myself failing to stop many other unhealthy habits.

  • I loved eating junk food.
  • I drank too many beers.
  • I played too many video games.

I knew I was a strong willed person. I was sure I wanted to get healthy. But I couldn’t
stop the harmful behaviours, no matter how hard I tried.

Continuing down this path was out of the question.

I knew it would lead to chronic disease and bad relationships. It was a path of gradual destruction.

I have seen this problem affect the lives of many people.

The despair caused by a lifetime of bad habits is taking a toll on the healthcare system. Mental health is at an all-time low in many countries.

People do not want to live this way and I find people trying to make positive changes
every day.

But they are trying to use willpower to make these changes and it is not working.

They know that not fixing this problem is fatal in the long-term. But they feel
powerless to stop damaging behaviours.

Why mindset shift is the solution

I still enjoyed smoking and that made it difficult to quit.

Cigarettes were part of my identity because I had been smoking since the age of 15. I could not picture life without smoking.

I identified as a smoker that was trying to quit. I was using willpower to force myself
to go against my identity. Quitting was going against every fibre of my being.

It was the same story with junk food, drinking and video games. That was my
identity. I still saw myself as that person.

Something miraculous had to happen to change my path. And fortunately it did.

I had a mindset shift.

I stopped viewing myself as a smoker trying to quit and identified as a non-smoker.
Somebody who never smokes.

I started viewing myself as a healthy person.

My core values became health, fitness and productivity.

Changing the way I viewed myself destroyed bad habits.

Would a healthy person smoke? No. Would a productive person play video games?
Of course not.

Those behaviours no longer aligned with my new identity. So I naturally stopped
doing them. Without willpower.

Mindset shift makes healthy behaviours effortless and permanent. Willpower is tiring
and finite.

  • I have never craved a cigarette since I stopped smoking
  • I have never wanted to spent my time playing video games.
  • I still have the occasional ‘cheat meal’, but for social reasons.

How can you shift mindset?

You need to be ready to change. The pain of continuing down your current path
needs to be more painful than the pain of making the change.

You will likely have some resistance, but taking action will break the remaining
resistance you have.

Here are the 4 actions you should take:

1. Write down your goals.

How can you choose the best route if you don’t know the destination?

So many of us are not clear about what we want life to look like in the future.

You need to have clarity on your goals so you can make better decisions today.

Having a foggy picture in your head is not enough. Wanting to be ‘healthy and
happy’ is not specific enough.

Take pen to paper and create a picture of your ideal life 20 years from now. Write
down in vivid detail:

  • How want to look.
  • How you want to feel.
  • What you want to be doing with your time.
  • What you want to have achieved.

You need to keep these clearly defined goals at the front of your mind at all times.
Every decision you make should move you towards your goals.

Keep this list at the front of your notebook or save it as a screen saver. You need to
refer to this constantly to solidify your mindset shift.

2. Write down your values.

How do you know what decisions to make if you don’t know your values?

Every choice should align with your values. But first, you need to know your values.

Most of us forget about our values, or we don’t have clearly defined values. This is a
recipe for living out of alignment and will lead you to make poor decisions.

Take out a pen and write down 5 values. This is your identity.

Some examples of values: Honesty, service, humility, respect, productivity, role
model, healthy living, etc.

Having a clear list of your values gives you a reference point for every decision.
Making decisions that go against your values is leading you back down the path of

You need to keep these values at the front of your mind. Set a daily or weekly
recurring reminder with your list of values so you never forget.

Every action you take should align with your values.

3. Surround yourself with the right people.

The people around you have a big impact on your behaviour.

It’s difficult to quit smoking when all your friends smoke. It’s difficult to stop eating
junk food when all you see is McDonalds adverts.

Changing your behaviour in a negative environment is like swimming against a
current. It is possible, but it is very difficult.

Why make it difficult when you could make it easy for yourself?

The first step is to change who you follow on social media.

If you want to quit video games, don’t follow gamers.

If you want to quit junk food, don’t follow junk food influencers.

The second step is to start following people that share your goals and values.

This will provide a stream of motivation and a reminder of why you are doing this. You will
identify as part of your new tribe.

This is a mindset shift.

The third step is a to associate with people who share your goals and values in real

Make friends with people who share your outlook on health and productivity.

Make friends at the gym or attend functions where you can network with likeminded

Distance yourself from anyone holding you back.

4. Tell everyone your goals.

You need to make everyone aware of your change. This will confirm your mindset
shift and hold you accountable.

Tell your friends, family and followers exactly who you are. Otherwise you risk them
tempting you back down the path of poor decisions.

You need them to view you as your new identity. Then they will act accordingly.

  • They know you don’t smoke so they won’t offer you a cigarette.
  • They know you are healthy so they will invite you to healthy restaurants.
  • They know you exercise so they will invite you to the gym.

Social accountability is a strong driver of change.

Remember that you are influenced by others. Having this accountability is making social influence work in your favour.

Everyone now knows your goals. They see you in a different light now and you
officially have a new identity.

The mindset shift is complete and the cravings are removed.

I have seen this method work for myself and a number of other people. It is the only
route to permanent change.

Test it out and see if it works for you and enjoy the rest of your life.

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