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Examination of willpower by Danny J. Stevens

Day 40, Giant Steps in to 2012

Willpower can be a great start to help in changing behaviors.  Eventually though, unless you change your paradigm, the associations you have linked to the behavior it will eventually return to the same comfortable behavior and the same results.  

In 2004, I made a huge commitment based on a feeling of emotional pain over my weight; I made a commitment to working out.  I hired a personal trainer and changes occurred.  Eventually my trainer moved however I still continued to working out on my own and was doing well until changes in employment made it difficult to keep my work out routine.  Then eventually I lost my job, had health issues with both parents to handle.  Mom was very ill and was in critical care more than she was in a nursing home.  When she became ill in January it was basically the last time we really spoke.  My father had a stroke in 2001.  He could take care of most things on his own but I started taking over cooking and cleaning.  I lost my workout schedule and eventually returned to my life style I had in 2004 and weight started to return.  

I had to change the association I had with foods.  The emotional pain of losing a family member, the loss of my identity which was tied to my profession, the pressures bringing my income up and spending down, left me with little time or desire to work out.  

Willpower works in the short term!  It helps while you change your habits and associations but on it own if the changes are not made then the eventually you will return to your paradigm.   Furthermore the association you change need to be ingrained and maintained and the old association need to be interrupted or the old habits will return.    Failure to interrupt the old associations will result in eventually giving in to old temptations and a return to the old conditioning.  

Associating your behaviors to extreme pain or pleasure is a way to alter your conditioning.  It can be a permanent situation but it depends on how much pain is associated to the behavior.  You environment may tempt you to give in from time to time.  You need to change the associations but you also need to change the environment.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!



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