Friday, July 4, 2008

How to Will Yourself to Success

One challenge of the human condition is gathering the strength and courage to break through the barriers we erect which keep us from confronting personal problems and challenges. It seems that avoidance and fear are the twin killers to personal progress. Why is it that some of us can motivate ourselves to accomplish everyday tasks and set long-term goals? Why is it that others of us often avoid, procrastinate, and waste valuable time agonizing about our inability to carry out self-rewarding behaviors?

The implication of willing ourselves to success affects every aspect of our life. Some of us desire to lose weight, change jobs, exercise, make new frien5B4ds, or learn new skills, but create resistance affecting our chances for a positive outcome. Why do we choose the road of self-defeating behavior even though we know that a different course of action will bring us to our desired goals and a sense of fulfillment?

The will to act must be greater than the power to resist. In other words, the urge to accomplish a task or goal must create an inner momentum until its force becomes irresistible. For some, this means a mounting cascade of frustration and anger, or a sense of being fed-up with the status-quo. The constructive passion to achieve drowns out the inner voice of inertia. Often, people tell me that an inner voice keeps hounding them until the clamoring sounds of change are strong enough to break the impasse.

Often people will resist the road to change because of a pattern of prior failure. They might say, Ive tried that route and it didnt work. They may view the motivation to change as an either/or process. Either Im 100% successful or Im a total louse. They may overlook the subtle changes that are necessary to complete a task. Established goals may be unrealistic and set the stage for failure. An additional obstacle may pop up when one starts down the road of progress and faces a period of regression. The back-sliding may be viewed as a monumental setback rather than a part of the growth process and may lead one to completely give up on5B4 a new endeavor.

Those who are unmotivated tend to harbor self-blame. They will blame themselves for their inability to change or will chastise themselves for any behavioral setback. With a mind-set of victim-posturing, the unmotivated individual will say, Its no use; no matter how hard I try, I will always come up short; its just my nature. Self-blame becomes an excuse for not trying. The self-centered focus is on personal failure rather than the impetus to move forward in spite of failure.

Often people remain unmotivated because they fear success. Those who contemplate losing weight might say, What if I lost weight and start to look more attractive? How would that affect the way others view me? My friend might want to date me and I dont know if I am ready for that! The fear of success often keeps one tied to the safety-net of the past.

The foundation for willing oneself to success begins with the process of setting goals. An individual must start with identifying what he really wants and needs. must be reframed to reflect a positive way of perceiving events. A friend who was unhappy with her life once told me, I know that I am withdrawing from people and I believe that it is bad for me. What she really needed to say is, I need to feel connected to other people; I want to find a way to make that happen. How we frame our thinking helps us to determine ways in which we will a5B4ct on them.

It is very difficult to move forward when you dont know where you are going. Setting realistic goals is essential to increasing our self-motivation. Goals need to be identified and chunked down into smaller steps. This makes getting motivated less overwhelming and easier to manage.

Giving yourself permission is an important ingredient to creating motivation. Often, people lack a sense of inner permission because they have relied on others to lead their lives. The fact that they have depended on others to direct their life makes them feel incompetent and thwarts forward-moving change.

Fully functioning people dont wait, they dont procrastinate, but they act. Life is too short. The fear of passing time may give us a sense of urgency about changing our life and making things right. Such a feeling of urgency may create the conditions necessary for changing the quality of our character and behavior. We dont have forever to will ourselves to success. Today is the day to redeem that which we have put on hold.

James P Krehbiel, Ed.S., LPC, CCBT is an author, a freelance writer and cognitive-behavioral therapist practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. He can be reached through his website at http://www.krehbielcounseling.2B3com.

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