Why You Don’t Need More Willpower

In a sense, willpower is like physical strength. In the same way that the weight of the heaviest rock you can lift is a measure of your physical strength, willpower is a measure of your ability to make yourself do something you intend to do but don’t feel like doing — or to keep yourself from doing something you intend not to do but do feel like doing.

And in the same way that how much you can accomplish with however much physical strength you have depends on how you apply that physical strength, how much you can accomplish with however much willpower you have depends on how you apply that willpower.

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Habits: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Habits, habits, habits. You have lots of them. If you’re like most people, some of your habits are good. Some are probably bad. And some may be downright ugly. A habit is something you do more or less automatically. You do it without thinking – often without even noticing that you’re doing it. It’s something you do when you’re not trying to do anything at all. So, for example, whether you have a good habit of sitting up straight or a bad habit of slouching, the habit is it’s its own boss. It doesn’t wait to take orders from you.

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Consider Going Public with Your Intentions

If you make a point of keeping your intentions to yourself, you may be depriving your intentions of the power they need to make it to the finish line.

Of course, you may have good reasons for keeping your intentions private. Maybe you think that going public with an intention is a surefire way to jinx it. Or maybe you figure that by keeping quiet about what you intend to do, you’ll spare yourself from embarrassment if you don’t follow through. Or maybe you just want to surprise someone by making an important change they weren’t expecting you to make.

But the truth is, you can unleash enormous follow-through power by going public with a promise.

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It’s No Laughing Matter

I decided over 40 years ago that I would make it my life’s work to shed light on the nearly universal problem of poor follow through. Well, I’m still at it. And although I’ve learned a ton about what it really takes to follow through, I remain as perplexed as ever about one thing: People – and society as a whole – don’t take following through as seriously as they should.

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How to Turbocharge an Intention by Kicking Sand in Its Face

I’ve been saying for years that the mind works the way it does and not the logical way we think it should. Case in point is the self-defeating way the mind (mis)treats intentions. It makes no sense at all. On the one hand, we use our own intelligence and experience — and we draw on the intelligence and experience of others — to figure out what we could and should do to make our lives better in big ways, in little ways, and in all ways in between. On the other hand, once we figure out what we could and should do, we often fail to do it. What a waste! Again, it just doesn’t make any sense.

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Practicing What I Preach

Practicing what I preach: Lowering the bar to rescue an intention

When it comes to following through, believe it or not, I generally do practice what I preach. That’s why this month’s blog post will be especially short.

You see, in the midst of a big move, I’m super busy and quite stressed-out, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t feel in the least bit like writing the blog post I promised myself I’d write every month.

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The Nuclear Option: Creating Compelling Reasons

The Nuclear Option

Although you may be reluctant to use it, you should know that you have access at any time to a cleverly hidden source of virtually unlimited follow through power.

You can access this powerhouse simply by deliberately creating a truly compelling reason to do — and keep on doing — whatever you intend to do NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE DOING IT.

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Not Following Through on Following Through?

I confessed in a previous post that although I’m proud of the follow through strategies I’ve developed over the years that enable people who use them to consistently make good on their own good intentions, I’m aware — painfully aware — that these strategies won’t do much good for people who don’t actually use them. And I’m also painfully aware that not everyone who learns them will use them.   

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Leading the Horse

Leading the Horse

If you’ve completed the Follow Through Strategies course, you already know about the Leading the Horse to Water strategy. That strategy calls for removing the unpleasant part of a task you need to complete – scaling it back as much as it takes to detoxify it so you can move forward and build the momentum and structure necessary to eventually get the whole job done. In other words, it’s a matter of lowering the bar so that you can easily clear it.

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