The Secret Life of Willpower
There is an easy way to succeed in your resolution. Stop the cycle of failure with this simple technique that always works.
There are two types of resolutions one can make, two ways to set a goal this year in 2018. One will inevitably fail, and the other will surely succeed.
What makes you think you can get rid of a long-time habit or pick up a good one in one day? Maybe if you are a wizard like Gandalf. I’m not going to quote any authorities here. Just be your own authority on this matter. I need not convince you of the vanity of most resolutions, either positive or negative, failing within weeks of inception.
Ask yourself, “Why do my resolutions fail?” Go ahead, give yourself a moment to contemplate this, examine yourself, your mind. “Is this important?”
I know this hurts and you have already done this exercise and thinking about it didn’t bear fruit last time, so why am I asking you to do it again?
I promised that I would not hit you over the head with any authority, no Harvard professors, no award-winning psychologists or columnists, no.
Aren’t you the best authority when it comes to you? I am asking you to have faith in your Self, not in authority. The real you I’m referring to is hidden under the surface, hidden behind the business of the persona projected into the externality of you, your social image in the doings of life. Your Self is there all the time, but not present most of that time, for you are too busy. Most of us are not aware at the deeper levels where all the peace and quiet live.
There is a way to reach your inner authority by simple techniques such as meditation or mindfulness, but these are not simple errands you can cross off your long list. Or perhaps it is too simple, just words anyway, concepts, loaded words and widely misunderstood ones at that. It’s not realistic to start a mindfulness practice in just one day.
Instead, allow me to humbly suggest something completely different, the creation of a powerful resolution that can start working immediately without practice or effort.
There is an ancient yogic process that gradually transforms the persona into one’s higher Self, into a better, a happier, wiser version. This is known as S.W.A.N. The method can help you discover your inner strengths, identify potential weaknesses and specific needs to achieve your personal, social, financial and spiritual ambitions or goals. I will make this short so hang on.
First, you will get more clarity if you are alone, in a quiet place while doing this exercise. Take a moment to schedule this action at a time and place where you’ll not be disturbed. Okay. Let’s begin.
A. Get a notebook and pen to note down your answers.
1. Strengths: identify three strong qualities of your character that you have relied on in the past, that have helped you succeed where others have not. These are qualities that are innate for the most part, those that have been with you since birth.
2. List two or three weaknesses that have caused you difficulty in life that has repeatedly caused you grief, failure, misfortune or regret.
3. Now for the resolution. We will call it ambition. Here are the guidelines for a fruitful ambition statement: short, positive, and in the present tense. For example: ‘I am a meditator’ — to meditate more or ‘I am a light eater’ — to lose weight or ‘I choose peace’ — to reduce stress and drama. You may notice the absence of any negative words and the lack of the future tense. These words are not taken seriously by the mind which is doing its level best to have a good time or to do nothing at all.
Let’s say you wanted to reduce your alcohol consumption this year, so
you make a resolution, “I want to stop drinking this year.” Or you may want to quit smoking, “I will not smoke this year. I want to stop smoking!”
The first problem with these statements: the words ‘stop’ and ‘not’. These are negative words, the mind loves these words, eating them up — yum and gone, so all that remains are the sentences, I want to drink this year, and I will smoke this year. You can see the problem here.
Next, I invite you to consider when making a resolve: the tense of the statement. In this case, a few words are causing these resolutions to fail: want and will. Wanting and willing means you don’t have it, right? You want it. You will do it. These are full of ego and emotion.
“Give me that, I don’t have one!”
So, this resolve remains in a perpetual state of limbo, just out of reach — you reach for that drink, drink it down with a sigh of regret and say “I want to stop! That ‘want’ or ‘desire’ are states of being that persists forever in the future for the sake of the feeling itself. The sense of desire continues only as long as it remains unsatisfied. Got it?
You fail, you keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting something will change. It never does, anchored, rooted down in the dark subconscious, rituals and habits repeat themselves because they are attached to unconscious patterns. Want and will, words that promote the status quo, push uncomfortable changes off into the future that never comes.
The failed resolution is reinforced every time it is repeated, goes deeper and sustains that melancholy of lack, the desire of a future satisfaction or of the nostalgic past to repeat itself. Thus, steeping the personal lifestyle in rituals in bad habits, coloring us, leaving a stain as coffee does on the front teeth. You keep whitening the teeth, drinking the coffee, whitening the teeth, and repeat. That is our lifestyle.
Does this make any sense? No, not really, you may answer, but it can make perfect sense after you set up S.W.A.N. In this year’s resolution.
So far we have covered the S. – strengths, the W. – weaknesses, and the A. – ambition or resolution.
Use your strengths to align yourself with the new ambition. Be aware of the weaknesses, leaving them alone, accept them and move on. Don’t step on that shit and track it into your home.
Keep the resolution as a mantra, repeating it when the mind is relaxed, reinforcing a life attitude of the success of being-ness rather than a doing-ness.
The last thing we need to cover briefly is the N. – needs. What do you need to achieve the state of being or attitude of your resolve? Go ahead and ask yourself:
“What do I need to make this real in my life?”
Get a pen and paper and make a list. Perhaps you need to take a course, need a support group, need inspiration, or something more abstract. Make sure your needs are in line with the ambition, supported by your strengths and out of the way and clear of your shit, put your weaknesses out of your mind.
Yoda once said to Luke in episode 5, “No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”
The resolution is not about trying or even about doing; the resolve is imbued into life into the subconscious, one’s attitude shines bright with that unwavering determination, attracting success, the success that follows a passionate purpose, establishing your personal authority in your living life.
One more comment before I let you go and make your resolve — keep it secret, keep it close. Unlike the typical resolutions which are broadcast over the social network, the resolve that you make with S.W.A.N. is personal and private. The more you talk about it, the less chance it will come true.