According to a google search the definition of willpower is-Control exerted to do something or restrain impulses.
I have NEVER been great at restraint and I am super impulsive. The times that I have attempted to use willpower to stop or start something have always been complete failures.
Have you ever set a start date for a diet? On the exact day you decided to start eating healthier you get an undeniable craving for Long John Silvers? It’s weird, because you’ve never once eaten there and if anyone ever suggested this to eat you would likely gag. But, now all of a sudden you find yourself in the drivethru fulfilling this overwhelming need to eat fried fish.
This is what happens when I try to use willpower. The minute I tell myself to restrain-my ego starts rebelling making it hard (if not impossible) to do anything other than focus on the thing that I was trying to restrain.
This is how I had attempted to stop drinking in the past. I would “deprive” myself of alcohol for a few days using willpower. I would eat spinach, workout more, refuse hanging out with friends, and lock it down just long enough to get the bloating under control and get rid of the headache.
I specifically remember this one time that I was doing a “clean eating challenge” which meant no alcohol. It was summer and I was at the pool with the kids. We were standing in line at the concession stand to get them an ice cream and I overheard a woman behind me talking on the phone. She told her friend that she was going finish up, take a shower, and then meet them for drinks. I felt so incredibly jealous.
I was angry that she was “having fun” while I was doing a miserable cleanse. I told myself that I was void of fun and that for these 10 days I would suck it up, use willpower, sacrifice, give up, and all the other yucky words that we have been taught to think of when we do something healthy. My limiting beliefs told me that if I wasn’t drinking and eating pizza that I wasn’t having fun.
Hip Sobriety and Annie Grace introduced concepts that I had never thought of before. They taught me FREEDOM!!! They empowered me to follow my heart. I did NOT WANT to drink. That was mind blowing! Telling myself I don’t want to drink was a whole helluvalot different then telling myself I couldn’t drink. And it was true! I really didn’t want to drink anymore! I finally felt encouraged. I had goals, and hope, and motivation which is way more fun than deprivation, sacrifice, and punishment.
Instead of feeling jealous of people “having fun” I WAS HAVING FUN! I was working on becoming a better version of myself! With every single social gathering, event, play date, etc. I gained more and more confidence.
I am so happy to be FREE of headaches, irrational thoughts, loss of sleep, chunks of nights that I can't get back. I am FREE from worrying if I had too many, or too few, or if I was getting too drunk, or if I was having enough fun, or what the ABV was, or if I ate enough dinner, or if I was going to be sick the next day. I AM FINALLY FREE!
So, when I am feeling like I don’t have enough willpower to stop/start doing something.....that’s a good thing. Willpower won’t keep me up at night dreaming my big dreams. Willpower won’t help me push through those times when I want to dive into a bottle of wine. Willpower won’t have me so excited about sharing my new journey. Willpower won’t have me jumping out of bed living my best life.
But freedom will. Freedom is the answer!