I’ve read it, I know you have too.

You need willpower, determination, self-control and a whole lot more to get to where you want.

And that’s right… right?

Well, yes. And, no.

For short term goals and things out of our comfort zone or things we don’t really want then yes they are useful and even necessary. However….

If you are after a longer term goal they are not. Think about it. How many times have you achieved or reached a goal when willpower, determination and self control were at the forefront of your mind? My guess, not often. But why? They seem to be the main words that come from self-help and motivational books and speakers. 

Think about someone you know that does something that YOU require willpower and determination for. Do THEY need it too?

I have a friend who runs 5-10 kilometers everyday and I asked him how much willpower it takes. His answer…. None. None!!!

I know another person who eats very healthy meals most of the time. I asked her how much determination it takes. Her answer… None.

I asked another friend who quit drinking really easily how much self-control it took. Her answer…. None.

I asked yet another friend who is very organisised how much determination it takes to be so fastidious. His answer… None.

Do you see a pattern here?  Does it surprise you? It probably shouldn’t.

Of course, being an avid NLPer, I asked more questions. And here is what I learned from each one of my friends:

  • Extra resources like willpower, determination, self-control etc, are not needed because they have made a dedicated choice to do what they do. For them, there is no other option
  • They truly desire the behaviour and outcome. There is no question about this. They have zero incongruence about it.
  • They have committed to their behaviours and outcomes and have ownership of them.

When I work with clients (or myself) and phrases like “I need willpower” are used I start to investigate more. Remember in NLP we have a Presupposition that says “Resistance is a sign of a lack of rapport”. Usually we think about this in relation to other people. BUT – resistance can be about a behaviour, and outcome, a concept, anything! Last month I shared an article about building Rapport with yourself – you should check that out if you haven’t seen it!

So – I investigate about the following:

  • Do you have rapport with whatever you need willpower for?
  • Do you truly want it? And or what purpose?
  • What beliefs do you have about having this, doing this or getting this? (I’m looking for any beliefs that may not be aligned to the outcome)
  • What will they LOSE when they have the outcome? Sometimes people need something to move away from. Sometimes the secondary gain is strong enough to make change hard.

And, that’s what the need of willpower, determination, self-control, etc. really say – they say “this change/behaviour is going to be hard”.

Does it have to be? No.

Talk to anyone who does something easily and ask them if its hard. Chances are the answer is NO. They probably don’t have anything in the forefront of their mind except for the task at hand.

 So next time you need determination – figure out what you need it for? Most likely its not the specific task you are doing, but rather to combat the incongruences that live inside of you. And, if you’re already NLP Trained – use some of your tools to get yourself on track, or ask another NLP for some assistance

If you are not yet NLP trained… why not!? 🙂