⚡️ Use Your Willpower Wisely To Create Lasting Habits
Hello friend! 👋
Your willpower is your superpower.
The bad news is that willpower depletes throughout the day (much like your phone’s battery). The good news is that if you use it wisely, you won’t need it to be at full capacity all the time.
What does this mean?
Creating systems that allow for actions to take place automatically (without much need to start them). It’s called conditioned behavior.
Conditioned behaviors require minimal or no effort to get started, and once they do start they can maintain momentum on their own.
For example, you put no effort into reaching for your phone first thing in the morning and checking your email (although you already know that’s probably not the very first thing your mind or body needs in the morning).
That’s a bad conditioned behavior. You can instead use the same operating system to create good conditioned behavior.
Or as I like to call it; a life system.
What are they?
Life systems are a set of pre-set algorithms that feed into each other.
What you’re using is an ancient part of your brain called the Basal Ganglia that thrives on repetition.
How is it done?
Here’s a 3-step process:
Use your willpower wisely by pre-committing to an action (e.g. 15 minutes of daily exercise).
Identify where and what time of the day you will do this action (e.g. mornings before work).
Find an action that is well established today to anchor this action to (e.g. as soon as I am done washing my face, I head to the exercise mat )
That’s a mini-algorithm that links leaving the toilet in the morning with the beginning of the exercise.
Algorithms are the backbone of programming and AI. “If this, then that” is a programming statement that can be applied to life.
If finished with the toilet in the morning, then head to the exercise mat to exercise.
My top algorithms:
If up in the morning, then grab my journal to plan the day (not the phone)
If sensing done with exercise, then meditate (even if for few moments)
If not aware of my breath, then take an intentional deep breath
Your algorithms can feed into each other to create a series of mini-algorithms.
Example: Wake up → Journal → Workout → Meditate → Deep work.
These can run back-to-back without wasting time in between on deciding, contemplating, and probably procrastinating.
Why they work?
When behavior is conditioned (like when you unconsciously open up Instagram after closing WhatsApp), it becomes effortless.
Back to you:
What’s one algorithm you can decide on now so you take ‘having to decide’ out of the equation?
Use the examples above or come up with something that suits your current life circumstances.
And don’t forget to make it fun!
Have a Super Sunday! 💪
With much joy,