Chocolates and Radishes - Your Will Power is Over Rated

October 12, 2017


Struggling with getting shiz done and achieving your goals? You are SO not alone. We all have brains and they help AND hinder us. 




If you are stuck in procrastination, don’t worry, seriously you are not alone. You could just be too identified with your brainstem. The human brain is designed to run away from any threat (even threat of failure) and to prioritise that over getting rewards. Yes, you are hardwired to escape pain more strongly than you are wired to seek and receive pleasure. Task uncertainty or a task that you might fail at can appear to the ancient brain like an unknown danger, so we avoid it and its possible pain-inducing effects.  Turn those pains into something manageable and known with some strategic thinking and small, (sometimes microscopic) clear goals rather than let your reactionary instincts take over.



Our brains conscious processing is small, so we can have a spot of bother in accurately setting achievable goals and sticking to them. This can get better in time with practice. But hey, just know your processing computer is working hard. Keep practicing. Reflect and learn.



Know that will-power is seriously over rated. Yes! Dont rely on will-power! I love the chocolate/radish study by some fab behavioural psychologist that showed how if youve worn down your willpower trying not to eat chocolate (whilst eating a radish) you will inevitably get worse results on persisting with hard mental tasks. It takes much less to wear down the 'will' than you think. So let your environment work for you - as behaviour change specialists the Heath Brothers say - shape the path and make behaviours easier by setting up your environments. This could mean getting exercise gear ready the day before, blocking social media in work times, linking with like-minded people for human resource support - basically give yourself a better chance to not rely on will-power. Find way-power! (Ask yourself : If my will power is limtied why wear out my willpower on not eating the chocolate and then yell at my kids? Eat the chocolate (go for a raw or dark chocolate and get the magnesium benefits too) and then be kinder to your kids!..)



The Sysiphus effect - that fellow condemned to push that boulder up that mountain endlessly… Thats your endless 'to do' list. When youre faced with a limited number of things to tackle in a day you feel fine, but when theres multiple undefined important tasks you can get overwhelmed or hopeless and your energy can bomb. Hold up here! It’s time to get out of reaction mode and get in the drivers seat again. This is where you need a buffer and breathing space to step into your leadership and call in your priorities. Without this clarity and alignment your tasks and goals might feel like enemies.   Create a time buffer zone and get out of that reactionary place so you can choose how you approach your work. You can get back to people in a reasonable time AND focus on the most important tasks guided by your over arching aims and values.



If you work with a vision and you want to achieve something intentional, which ever way you cut it and whatever you follow, you gotta review - long term , mid term, short term -   and make sure you are on track with your priorities. If you are an adopter of The Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) Mr Four Hour Ferris says you might reivew every couple of weeks. Why else do you have to review and stick to those lists? So you can trust them!  A day with a clear set of tasks means less stress and more effect.  A weekly review/clean up helps keep yourself clear and in a rhythm. You can create rituals around your day, week and month to find a flow and grace. (Just remember those rhythms need setting up and take time to develop).  You can use a diary like MiGoals (local to Melbourne) or a more wellness focussed diary like  Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner to manage long, mid, monthly, weekly and daily goal setting in a practical hands on way at your desk. They work like a coach would to help keep you accountable with aligning to your intentions and goals. 


If you want coaching support with aligning your time- management with your priorities, finding some tools and rituals to give you extra energy. Get in touch. I love working with busy women who want it all!  


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