Many of us at our Escape Haven Bali Retreat have made resolutions or goals for 2018 and the change is already starting to happen! It’s a wonderful thing to see progress pay after putting in the effort and setting the intention. But I like to refer to these goals as renewals rather than resolutions – and I’ve learned that the key to renewing my focus is not just to set those new goals, or to dream new dreams – but to change the habits in my life to help make those dreams come true. Willpower is top of that list as a key enabler. By improving our willpower – the ability to act in spite of what our mind is telling us – we can more easily achieve the goals and dreams we hold in our hearts.
It’s the start of February and while that means lots of us are still on track – there are others who may be on the edge of going back to those old behaviours or self-defeating habits. Or, you may simply be ‘white knuckling’ your way through each day to keep strong to the decisions you made to renew your diet or lifestyle in 2018.
So here are eight ways our Bali yoga retreat team and I have come up with to build up our willpower muscles and make this year of renewal more fun, more joyful and easier to achieve.
- TACKLE THE BIG STUFF FIRST
When you wake up in the morning you’re at your strongest, you’ve rested and you’re ready to face the world – so why not launch straight into the steps you need to take to achieve your goal? If it’s exercise, then leave your running shoes and sports gear right by the bed so it’s ready to go. Then, when you wake up, take a big breath and throw yourself into the challenge before those sneaky negative thoughts can influence you. This practice of acting in spite of yourself will quickly build your willpower muscles for times when you’re not feeling so fresh!
- JUST DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING
If your goal is a big project requiring many different tasks – try not to think too much about the enormity of the mountain ahead. Just do the next right thing on your list. Take the first step you need to take now – and you’ll find the practice of doing one thing at a time becomes a habit that you don’t even need your willpower to achieve! Make the next right move simple and you’ll find you can do it easily.
- VISUALISE YOUR DISNEY MOMENT
While it’s not super helpful to think about that steep and rocky pathway up the mountain – it’s amazing for your willpower muscles to picture the view from the top! So take a moment during your day to imagine yourself achieving your goal. Really get into the moment. Ask yourself how it will feel to cross the finish line, or get the promotion or graduate with that new degree. Whatever your goals is picture yourself living that dream and before you know it, fantasy will become reality.
- TAKE A BREATH AND HIT THE BRAKES
Spontaneity is a two-sided coin, it can bring joy and great happiness but it can also be the catalyst to a regrettable decision. Slowing down will help you to determine whether your decisions are in line with your values. So take a breath and a moment to reflect. If you’re about to jump in the ocean for a midnight skinny dip then all power to you! But if your goals are financial or health driven and you find yourself about to rack up another debt on your credit card – or order a second piece of pie – then hit the brakes and delay your decision for just 15 minutes. The 15-minute pause is a great tool to add to your willpower kit.
- GIVE YOURSELF GOLD STARS BUT DON’T STOP WORKING
Rewards are necessary and I think gold stars should be handed out freely in life! But don’t confuse making progress with hitting the finish line. Keep working towards your goals so you don’t risk taking a backslide and regretting it later. Every time you make progress attribute it to your willpower and the strength you’ve shown – then instead of treating yourself with a cookie – double down and you’ll see your progress speed up!
We are such advocates of this at our Bali yoga and meditation retreat. There is simply no quicker path to building willpower than establishing a practice of meditation. It will give you untold calm and the ability to detach from any negative thoughts that pop up. Taking the time to connect with your breath in the current moment is like building the muscle of the mind. With meditation, you’ll find yourself able to resist temptation and achieve your goals without the need to ‘white knuckle’ it through the temptations of life. Make sure you tune into Laura’s 6 minute heart chakra meditation to help you on this path.
- LOCK UP YOUR SELF-SABOTEUR
If you have a little slip along the way don’t punish yourself or make the decision to give up. Instead just apply a gentle and loving hand to your heart and pick yourself up. We’re all so prone to negative thinking so learn to identify when your monkey mind is playing tricks on you and put her in a cage where she can’t do you any harm. This will leave space for your positive values-based willpower to take over the ship and steer you back in the right direction.
- REST AND REFUEL
If your goals this year are to do with food than make sure you never leave yourself in a state of low blood sugar and absolute hunger. Keep healthy snacks on hand and don’t hesitate to eat when your body tells you that you need to. Resting is just as important – if your goals are exercise oriented than factor in rest time after your workouts instead of expecting yourself to keep driving forward and achieving through the day. Willpower is one thing, unrealistic expectations of self is another thing entirely.
So my lovely ladies, here are the ways my Bali retreat team and I are planning on improving our willpower this year. Let me know in the comments any special techniques you have for willpower gains!
Escape Haven Bali Retreat, supporting women on year making wellness experiences.
We invite you to come and experience for yourself our award winning Bali yoga retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and shrug off all the roles that you wear and all the balls you juggle in your busy life, we’d love to pamper you. From transformational yoga and meditation classes, to exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness in our tropical gardens to restorative healing and pampering sessions, how much or little you do is all up to you.