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Which Will See You Through, Habits or Willpower?

 Habits and Willpower

Habits and willpower

It’s hard to keep up willpower for any length of time.

If you haven’t read part 1 – So You Want To Start a New Habit you can do so at this link.

Yes, we can stick to a low-fat 1,000 calorie diet and go hungry for a week or two, but eventually our willpower fades. And yes, we can do exercise we hate for a while… until we run out of willpower.

But what about getting up to take the kids to school every morning, brushing our teeth or going to work every day. Those may not be our favorite things to do either, but we do them daily without the risk of running out of willpower.

  • That’s because they have become habits.
  • They are so ingrained in what we do and who we are that we do them without even considering skipping a day or a week.
  • We don’t have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or drive to work.
  • It’s just what we do – a habit.

When you start to think about it, there is an inverse relationship between habits and will power.

When you first want to build a new habit, it takes a lot of will power to get it done day in and day out.

As you start to establish that habit, it becomes easier and easier to do until you don’t even have to think about it anymore.

Just being aware of this process helps us stick it out.

  • Pray, ask the Lord to give you strength. You will be amazed at how much this helps.
  • We know we don’t always have to make such a big effort to go work out or skip the donut for breakfast.
  • There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • We know eventually it will become habit to go out for a run first thing in the morning and grab some fruit or fix some eggs for breakfast.

While we’re in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier.

  • Ask the Lord to remind you.
  • Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stay on track.
  • Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help bolster that willpower when it starts to fade after the first enthusiasm wears off.
  • Even something as simple as laying out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that run.

“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:4 ESV

Do what you can to help your willpower along until you have made the new behavior a true habit. After that it’ll be easy and automatic and you’ve created a new lifelong habit.

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  • Sarah Donegan
    Posted May 28, 2016 at 2:43 PM

    This is so true! Willpower is great until it runs out.

  • heather m
    Posted May 25, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    Thanks Phyllis! This was a much appreciated boost as I’ve been trying to work some new disciplines into my life this month! ♥

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted May 25, 2016 at 4:15 PM

      I am too. That’s why I started this series. I’m reminding myself to stick in there. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me.

  • Wendy Gunn
    Posted May 24, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    This was so good! And, very encouraging right now 🙂 Thank you for being used of the Lord in my life today.

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted May 24, 2016 at 2:03 PM

      Thanks for telling me Wendy. That encouraged me too!

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