Why Willpower Is Bullshit

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  • Feel good in our own skin
  • Get rich
  • Be happy
  • Fall in love
  • Do work we’re excited about
  • Have an awesome life

That’s what we all want, right? At least that’s what the three of us want and what we hear from a lot of you as well. But what we also hear is “If I could just have more willpower to [fill in the blank] then I’d get there.

Well I don’t think that having willpower has anything to do with it anymore to be honest. I don’t think we need willpower to have any of the things listed above.

I think we just need to focus on doing what feels good.

I used to think that I had to ‘get my shit together’ in order to be happy, meaning: eat less, stick to a budget, workout more and work harder in general, at everything. I essentially thought that I needed to be some version of a perfect D-Money that was running around in my head. I never measured up to that perky wench though, so I became more and more disgusted with myself. I kept thinking if I could just [insert discipline] then I would get all of the things on my list and have an awesome life.

But I was wrong.

What I needed to do was relax, figure out what felt good, and then go do more of that.

Not that I have all of those things above today per say … well, actually, now that I’m writing this … I do feel pretty good in my own skin most days, I do feel rich, I am pretty happy, I am in love, I do do work that I’m excited about (even if it’s not paying my bills just yet) and I would say I have a pretty awesome life. Wait holy shit, you guys?!

Okay, I definitely don’t love my job. You’ve got me there (understatement of the year). We’re working our little fannies off over here to change that in the future though, so it makes it easier to stomach, most days anyway. Then again, most days I eat a cookie around 3 p.m. and tell myself I deserve it because I hate my job so, do with that what you will.

I’m not perfect and neither is my life but, back to my point…

A few years ago, I basically went from 20 pounds heavier and hating my body, being single, in debt, unhappy, and not excited about much of anything, to the opposite. But here’s the kicker: when I look back, I realize that the only thing that changed was my mentality. I didn’t all of the sudden harness that super-human willpower I’d been lacking and finally stick to some asinine diet. What I did, was let that go of all of that willpower bullshit and start doing the things that actually felt good instead.

I stopped striving for more willpower and started striving to just feel good. I swear, you guys, that’s it.

When I started eating to feel good, eating healthy got a lot easier (take a hike, Lean Cuisines). I also stopped looking at food and my body as enemies that needed to be controlled or outsmarted and just started eating what made me feel good.

And then I lost 20 pounds.

When I started exercising to feel good, I started walking more and getting into Yoga and I stopped forcing myself to run on the treadmill, which I hated. Back then I was just exercising to lose weight or punish myself for eating too much anyway so, it’s a totally different activity now. There’s no guilt involved.

And now exercising feels good.

When I started to figure out what I liked to do and what actually made me happy, I stopped shopping out of boredom and wasting all of my money on stuff I didn’t need. I wound up getting out of debt and saving lots of money.

And now I feel rich.

When I stopped waiting to start dating until I was thinner or “less busy”,  I went online and met a guy who made me feel good when I was with him.

And then I fell in love.

When I started writing because it made me feel good, I got into blogging.

And now here we are.

I don’t know, you guys, like I said, my life is definitely not perfect but, it’s a life I’m happy with. I feel good, probably the best I’ve ever felt. I think it’s because that’s what I chose to do. I chose to feel good first, before I had the things on the list. And we don’t need willpower to do that.

For so many years I thought that if I just had more willpower to get to the gym, to not eat the cookies, to stick to my points allowance, to get up earlier, to drink less, to figure out my career, and be more perfect, then my life would be perfect as well. But it wasn’t until I let go of the willpower story I’d been telling myself, that my life started to come together.

Now I believe that willpower is bullshit. To get where we want to be we have to choose feeling good, and we have to choose feeling good now, not when we [blank].

When we make feeling good first the priority, the need for willpower evaporates. Life might never be perfect but, at least it’ll feel good.

“Willpower is bullshit!”

– she yells, mouth full of her afternoon cookie

Dana

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