Self-help supremo Tony Robbins says,
“Willpower doesn’t last but rituals can last a lifetime.”
And he’s completely right.
Rituals, habits, routines and patterns form the basis of a lifestyle; a lifestyle that you can use to support whatever it is that you think you need willpower to do or stop doing.
There’s really no area of your life that this doesn’t apply to; diet, exercise, career, motivation, relationships, anxiety levels and so on. Everything we are is built on what we’ve allowed ourselves to become, through these daily habits.
No matter how much you want to be an attentive, affectionate partner, if it’s your ritual to stare constantly at your Facebook feed whenever there’s a pause in conversation, you’re just not going to manage it. Maybe it’s time to consider turning your phone over? Or only looking at it at certain times? Or having a phone-free night?
If you desperately want to lose weight, but you routinely fill the house with cookies in case someone visits, only to reason with yourself that you deserve a packet after a hard day… again, you won’t make it. So maybe make it your new ritual to avoid the biscuit aisle completely? And have healthy alternatives nearby? Maybe even decide that when you’ve had a bad day, it’s your ritual to go out for a walk?
If you’re super motivated, willpower might get you over the starting line. But if your daily life is working against you, then it won’t be long before you’re back at square one, feeling the hopeless misery of failing yet again.
So think about the areas of your life in which you’re reaching for goals or trying to change/improve. And take a logical approach, looking at your daily habits and routines; your rituals. Once you’ve worked out what’s working for and against you, you can begin making small, subtle changes.
Before long, you’ll have created a lifestyle which supports health and happiness, with little willpower needed.