New Year’s Resolutions and Willpower – Why Does it Often Fail Us

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It is the holidays and everywhere I turn I see (and smell) wonderful cookies, candy, and peanut brittle (a personal weakness). At home, it is my lovely wife and kids baking goodies and at the office it is clients, bankers, attorneys, and friends…sending the most beautiful assortments of treats. It is during this time of year we all seem to give in a little and eat things we should not or at least more than we should.

Of course, we all will welcome the new year with a personal goal of “cutting back” and being a little more healthy. Each of us will try to have more willpower, but will it work and what really is willpower? Why are some people better able to set goals and achieve them and others cannot?
 
Willpower is an interesting term. Wikipedia defines it as - the strength to act, or forbear from acting, in the pursuit of a goal. It starts with the word - Will. We usually think of this word in terms of choice. "Will you do something?" is asking if you would choose to do a particular thing. But, in another sense, for example in Greek, will means to "desire" or "delight" in something. If you "will it," then it is what you truly want.
 
Most of us who try to depend on "willpower" to stop doing something, find that it is not lasting and really not very effective. "Willpower" and just trying to make good choices cannot compete with the true desires of the heart, for that is where the passion is. You will not lose weight or quit smoking, for example, until your deepest desire is to get healthy. The heart is always stronger than mere "willpower."
 
This is true for parenting, money management, weight loss, leading employees, making a marriage work... As we all think of 2011 and our goals, what role will passion play in helping you achieve your goals? What changes must you make in your heart in order to change your behaviors?

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