Will power is great when you have it, right? I want to help you not only have more will power, but to turbo charge your will power!
All of us have things in our lives that we want to change—habits, attitudes and feelings that need to change. And, if you are like me, I grab my willpower and attack my new goal ferociously. You might even hear a few robust declarations “I can do it! I will do it!” And sometimes I bolster my will power like all the books tell me to do with a solid actionable strategy and a completion date hoping to forge a “Steel Will” that will take me to my goal. But, when the numbers on my bathroom scale don’t budge I have to look further.
I realize that my emotions can stop me or catapult me. Emotions can fuel my actions. I can’t tell you the number of times a sale at the mall has gotten my tired body off the couch and into my car to shop with my daughter. I’ve watched love get my exhausted daughter-in-law out of bed because of the cries of a sick baby.
You can feel power from your emotions.
It’s important that we recognize depression and sadness drains our energy, while excitement recharges it. Rage can fuel murder, acts of road rage and violence. We can feel the power of our emotions.
Your thoughts and what you believe about those thoughts create your emotions. Did you see that? I have to say it again, your thoughts and whether you believe those thoughts or not creates your emotions. When you alter either what you believe or what you think; you can change your emotions. That change can produce some valuable emotional energy.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed and when I do I have some toxic thoughts. When I start thinking about how much work I have to do; how hard it is; that I never get it all done; that work just keeps piling up; I can’t do it right anyway; I never get to have any fun because all I do is work—something terrible happens to my emotions and I don’t even want to work. Then, I feel defeated before I even start. It is really, really hard for me to keep ploughing forward when I “feel” that way.
But, if I think about how beautiful my dishes are; how precious my family is as I wash their clothes; if I thank God for the hot soapy water in my sink and for the delicious food we just ate (even though the skillet reminds me I left it on high just a little to long) then washing the dishes or any of my work is a joy instead of drudgery. My attitude, which I shape with my thoughts and beliefs, will cause me to enjoy the task instead of hating every moment.
Your brain has ruts.
There is a deer rut across the street from my house. It is a well-worn path through the woods that the deer have taken again and again through the years. They have taken the path for so long that the ground is hard; the underbrush is all gone from constant trampling so it is easy to traverse.
Our brain takes shortcuts; some of those shortcuts take us to places that are dangerous and destructive. Let me explain by sharing a rut or default that I had to overcome.
My Sweet Husband
Let me begin with saying Wayne is really, really smart and he is the most loving man I have ever seen. He is unselfish, kind and generous.
Almost every single time that Wayne and I would argue, I would feel like “he thought” I was stupid and I would tell him so. He would tell me he didn’t think that, but I adamantly insisted that he thought I was stupid. I thought he thought that about me, because when I made a mistake my default path was to think, “Pat, you are so stupid.”
It was a rut, a thought pattern, a stronghold in my mind that was robbing me of confidence and peace in my home. The experts call it “neural pathways.” “The pathway along which information travels through the neurons (nerve cells) of the brain is a neural pathway.
A lot of the programming of our body is “hard wired” into us already, but we also create new neural pathways every time we experience something new and different.” Your brain wants to conserve energy, so it takes shortcuts. The pathway that I had created from years of thinking and believing that I was stupid was there, even if I didn’t realize it. Wrong thinking can steal power that is needed to fuel your will power.
It took me a long time to realize that rut or neural pathway was my problem, not Wayne’s. I’m really not stupid, but I felt stupid because I believed a lie. Don’t miss this. It is really, really important. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware of how I was thinking until I started paying attention to why I felt the way I did.
A lie is dangerous.
Do you realize that when you believe a lie you give that lie power in your mind to shape your thinking? Precious Holy Spirit helped me see what my thought pattern was, but I had a role to play in my freedom.
I had to deal with that rut in my brain.
I had to deal with that thought so, I submitted my thoughts at the cross and repented for believing a lie.
I exchanged my lie for His truth.
New neural pathways in my brain were required so, I found specific scriptures and began to renew my mind, which actually made new paths in my brain. It was a process. And, processes takes time. And, that’s OK.
Now I pay attention to my thoughts.
I am especially vulnerable to that thought when I make a mistake. Every time the thought comes to me that I am stupid, I talk to myself. Something like…”I made that mistake because I lacked information, now I have learned some new information that I will use in the future. But, I am not stupid. That is a lie.”
I have processed truth in that area so frequently that I recognize it much quicker. If that old thought comes into my mind now, I know it is a lie and I call it a lie. Calling it a lie is a game changer for sure!
The Battle Rages…
but it’s a battle you can win.
You can change your brain with right thoughts. You can retrain your brain, but it is a process.
I totally get it sometimes we don’t feel it! Sometimes we feel strong and sometimes we feel so weak.
It is vital that you realize the power of your thoughts. Your thoughts create your feelings; feelings fuel your choices; your choices make your life. Don’t let your thoughts “steal your power” to win in life. You don’t feel the electricity in the room, but it is there for you to access by plugging into the outlet.
Use your will power!
Because changing your thoughts is a process that leads to change, you have to persist. And, sometimes your will power, the determination to change that leads to actionable steps that bring the change, can fail you!
There are some wonderful ways to strengthen your willpower.
- Get a clear vision of the why behind the what. More than just setting a clear goal (And that’s very important-write down your goals), you need to know why you want to achieve that goal. What would it feel like to reach that goal? I wanted to climb “Angel’s Landing” in Zion National Park for bragging rights! But, that goal was enough to motivate my husband to go to the top.
- Share you goal with someone that believes in you, that will encourage you and hold you accountable (Keep you moving toward that goal.)
- Break the goal into action steps. I have found that I absolutely love to physically cross off an accomplishment on my list. So, I list specific things so I can cross it off.
- Encourage yourself to work just a little bit harder. If my goal is to exercise 30 minutes. I push myself to go 1 minute or 5 minutes longer. If my goal is to clean for one hour, what is one more thing that I can clean in just a few minutes?
- Be your best cheerleader. Talk to yourself. Encourage yourself. Believe that you can do what you are supposed to do!
- Celebrate little victories along the way. This is my greatest weakness. I don’t celebrate enough, but I’m working on this one, because it really energizes future successes!
- Identify toxic thoughts that suck the energy right out of your willpower! Stop saying things like, “I don’t have enough willpower!” or “I never reach my goals.” When that thought comes exchange it with this new thought.
Philippians 4:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
Philippines 4:13 takes us to the source of real power. You were not made to live this Christian life alone. Christianity is not one more self-help program. You were made to connect with God and to plug in or access His power to accomplish what you cannot do.
Listen, I realize some people have a steel will, but your steel will isn’t enough to please God.
It’s your faith that pleases God.
It pleases God when you access His power in order to simply obey what He says. He didn’t design you to do it alone—it’s a relationship!
Align your “Feel Power” with God’s Word to strengthen your “Will Power” that is turbo charged with God’s “Real Power” which is accessed through “Kneel Power. Now that’s a mouthful!
Ephesians 3:20 NLT Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.