Will Power & Self-Determination: Why You Constantly Fail
This blog is about the big questions: human nature, relations, experience - basically what the heck is going on in life and what the point of all this is. Let me begin with the concept of self-determination, what it means, why it matters and why you constantly fail in trying to achieve your personal goals.
Self-determination implies action
Self-determination means control of your own life. It means freedom to be and do what you want and the capacity to achieve it. Let's clarify the following: to want something is one thing, but to have the guts and stamina to go for it and walk the walk is another thing. Theory and practice are not the same. Self-determination implies both knowing what you want, and actually doing something. You need to take the necessary steps to achieve what you envision. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do - that sums it up pretty neatly.
It is in human nature to be active and influence things in our surroundings, each of us in our own special way. Our capacities are always limited because we are limited beings. Yet, it’s natural for us to get up early in the morning and start performing. Just try to lie the whole day in bed after resting and you will see how difficult it is to remain motionless. Your body craves for expression, and that’s a good thing. The urge to move and achieve means you are alive.
you succeed and fail due to your Habits
We all set certain goals and make plans, but often it is difficult to achieve those because our habits stand in the way of success. I strive to work out in gym regularly and make certain home exercises every day. I love physical training, but I also know there’s lots of people for whom working out is a hard thing to do. Then there's others who want to quit smoking and it’s difficult for them too. The list of undesired habits goes on and on - some of them are trivial and others are more profound and they all have to do with our character traits and habits.
Why is it difficult to achieve personal goals? That's because you need to break with long established habits and false beliefs in your mind that prevent you from realising your objectives. And that’s the most difficult thing to do in life. And although it’s hard we should always try our best because every attempt to establish a new useful habit contributes to your final success in the future. That's how you develop self-determination and your personal will power.
At the beginning you will fail many times: you’ll smoke that cigarette, you’ll skip that gym session, you’ll do the thing that you didn’t want to do, but the constant awareness of your goal and the little attempts and efforts to change will over time make it easier for you to renounce the bad habit and embrace the pattern of behaviour. Just keep on moving and don’t give up at every failed attempt. The path to ultimate victory is made by little daily failures until the new behaviour, the new habit has grown strong enough to fail us no more.
I hope you can finally see why new year’s resolutions often fail us. They don’t work initially because people’s objective was superficial and the motivation to walk the walk wasn’t there. However, if you really badly want to achieve something, you will have the internal motivation to make the attempts over and over again until you’ll see the results you want to see. That’s real self-determination. The training of new habits through constant attempts makes your will power grow. In this way you gain self-respect and new energy that will continue to motivate you. Bear in mind that it’s lots of work and you need to make the physical and mental effort. Nothing comes out of self-inflicted laziness.
To sum it up: achieving difficult results is a matter of character change when you establish a new habit or a new way of thinking. Through the process you break with your past and your false beliefs. It is usually a painful process if you don’t have enough initial motivation to guide you through, but eventually, if you remain persistent, you’ll always get somewhere. That’s what self-determination is: the freedom to lead your life the way you wish. It’s the type of freedom which we need to grow into. It doesn’t come on its own, but the effort is definitely worth it.
If you desire something special in your life and know it’s a good thing for you, stop making excuses and start immediately with small steps at a time. Treat your failures as little milestones paving your way to your eventual success.
That's my words of wisdom.