I can has willpower?

Is there such a thing as willpower?

We constantly hear that our diets don't work, we can't get ourselves to the gym, we can't do x y and z because we don't have the willpower. But this book my friend told me about a few months ago says that willpower isn't the problem. There are 6 influences in our daily lives that lead us to stray off the path towards our goals...Ourselves, the people around us, the media, etc. The book is called "Change Anything" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Yeah, that's a lot of people. But it was a really great book that helped me to start eating better...But then I just kinda stopped doing it. It was really weird.

So, does that mean I don't have strong willpower because I stopped reading the book and doing the "plan" I had set up while reading the book?

Maybe I need to set up a "plan" to start living according to my Change anything plan again. That sounds like a vicious cycle.

When I was using the book, I was really making progress. My goal was to eat mindfully for every meal unless I was with other people at a restaurant or party or potluck. Eating mindfully means not doing anything besides eating, really tasting every flavour, smelling every smell, feeling the textures with every bite. It causes people to actually stop eating when they are satisfied, it stops them from overeating, and it reduces cravings. It was really wonderful when I was doing it, but I guess life got busy and I found it harder and harder to eat mindfully when I was always rushed.

So I guess you could say one of my outside influences is my schedule, and my work. Unfortunately, those can't go away right now, so how can I work around them? That's the ultimate question with everything right now. I want to be doing some kind of exercise every day, I want to be writing every day, I want to be able to balance everything better every day. For some reason, that is so freaking hard.

Is there anyone out there who is able to balance their lives well? What's your secret?

Strangely enough, I'm pretty good at balancing poses in yoga. I guess I have to just somehow apply that to my daily life...In yoga, you stare at a spot that is not moving in order to keep your balance, and you try to feel every corner of your foot on the ground or floor, and you keep a little microbend in your knee so that you have more of a solid foundation and your muscles in your balancing leg are keeping you up. Maybe that can be seen as a metaphor for reaching a goal...Your goal is the fixed, unmoving point you are staring at. Your feet are what bring you forward to that goal. You have a solid foundation - a plan - for getting to that goal. Voila. Metaphor. Hmmmm...


  • Jack Draco | 07 August, 2012 14:12

    The eating mindfully thing is an extension of Vipassana Buddhism, in which you are supposed to do everything mindfully. It's often taught within Vipassana that you should only do one thing at a time. If you're reading, Just Read, if you're eating Just Eat. There is, of course, an acceptance that it's not always possible, or even desirable.

    Jack Kornfield relates, in the "Inner Art of Meditation", a story of a yogi who taught his students to Just Eat, and etc. and the students came across him one morning eating his breakfast and reading the newspaper. And the students started hassling him about "How can you teach us to just do one thing at a time and here you are eating and reading?!" To which the yogi calmly replied, "When you Eat and Read, Just Eat and Read."

    I guess what I'm saying is to try and spread the mindfulness throughout the day, not just in the eating. Try and bring a full awareness to everything throughout your life. Though, also as Jack Kornfield relates in the same text, being mindful and living in that kind of meditative state is an Art, like playing the piano. And just as you will not be able to compose a suite that rivals Mozart after 6 months of piano lessons, don't expect to be mindful and perfectly in balance after only 6 months of practicing mindfulness. It's the continued practice that will make you a master of any Art, and mindfulness/meditation is no different.

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