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“Why Willpower Won’t Work” – What It Really Takes To Change

By December 16, 2017February 24th, 2021No Comments

Why Willpower Won't Work - Kevin Bulmer Footsteps Video BlogTranscript: I don’t know that I really want to be known as a motivational speaker. I enjoy speaking, but motivational? The thing is that motivation is external, and really, what it does is it’s just an incitement for you to use your willpower.

But willpower alone isn’t going to work, and I’m going to use this window to show you why.

Seize the day. Live like there’s no tomorrow. Do what you love. I need you to be in “Beast Mode!”

That’s all great. That’s all well and fine. I like motivational stuff like that too because just like anybody else, I need to be kicked in the butt sometimes, but the trouble with motivation and willpower to get moving to change something in your life for the better is that it comes from something external. To really change it, to make it permanent, and to make it stick; that’s something that’s got to be inside of you. Let me explain.

Kevin, We Have a Problem …

In a example of my own, a habit that I had that chased me for a long, long time, about 10 years, in fact, was I would go home just about every single night and drink beer, and more than one. Nobody ever thought I had a problem. If they did, they wouldn’t tell me. I actually asked my doctors about it several times. They told me, “No, I don’t think this is a problem.”

My friends and family never thought that it was a problem, but you know who thought it was? Me. I knew. Deep down, it was a period of 10 years, a decade from the time that I first realized it was something that I was going to change at some point or face dire consequences down the road. For the course of 10 years, I tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed to quit that habit.

Now, I knew lots of reasons, intellectually, why I would be better off without beer, but I couldn’t seem to make it stick. I would get motivated. I read lots of books, I did lots of exercises, I watched lots of videos, and I would try and fail and try and fail. It wasn’t until I finally changed something fundamental that it stuck, and then actually, the change was really easy and set me free over, two years ago.

I’ll give you some additional context to this. There’s a reason why I’m in the car. It’s because I need this window.

Windows & Willpower …

You know when you’re in the car and you’re trapped in there with an insect? We’ll say it’s a fly, and it’s bouncing off the window, and you’re trying to drive, and then you actually, you open the window up, and you’re trying to shoo it out. You’re trying to help it, you’re trying to free it, but it seems intent upon keeping itself trapped, so then it actually goes and it’ll bounce off the windshield, or it’ll go off the other window, and you just say, “Man, I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to set you free. Why are you intent upon continuing to bounce your head off the window?”

Well, that’s motivation and willpower. The window, that’s what you believe, so doesn’t matter how strong your motivation is, it’s going to fade. You can use all the willpower that you want, but eventually, one of two things is going to happen if you don’t change what you believe: You’re going to get weary of this, and you’re going to quit, or you’re going to die trying. It isn’t until you change what you believe that this window opens and sets you free.

In my case, I had to finally face up that what I was thinking was I couldn’t relax after I came home without a couple of beers, or how was I going to celebrate or go out with my friends or socialize or get to sleep at night or be a better version of myself and be happier without that habit than I was with it. It wasn’t until I fundamentally changed my idea, realized what I was thinking and scripted out – and I mean I literally wrote out what I wanted to be instead – that I believed I would be a healthier, happier, clearer, more energetic, more focused, more productive, stronger version of myself without that habit than I was with it.

When I finally got that into my head and I affirmed that for myself every single day until I fundamentally changed my mind and my belief about what that habit was doing or not doing for me, guess what finally happened?

Out the window I went.

Motivational messages and inspirational content are well and good and necessary, and I like it, and I’m hoping I provide a lot of it too, but the thing about all that motivational stuff is that it is external. You can grab it from wherever else you want, but in terms of actually changing your belief system and really making lasting change? That’s an inside job, and I’m afraid that’s up to you.

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