Personal Project, Willpower

The Willpower Instinct Project – Week 8, 9 & Wrap-Up

McGonigal, Kelly - The Willpower InstinctAs I said two weekends ago I was struggling to finish up the project. I did finish reading the book and the review will post tomorrow, but I just had a couple of rough weekend sin a row and didn’t take the time to blog about the last two chapters. This’ll be a quick recap of those chapters and my final thoughts on the project.

Chapter 8: Infected: Why Willpower is Contagious focused primarily on how your willpower project isn’t just yours alone. We were told to spend time identifying when/if other people affected how we approached challenges. Do the people we identify with or want to be like help or hinder our process? The experiments for the week were to take a few minutes to remind ourselves of the goals every morning, find a positive role model, go public with the our challenge and find others to support you.

Chapter 9: Don’t Read This Chapter: The Limits of “I Won’t” Power focused more on the negative side of your challenges. What was most interesting to me was the idea of ironic rebound, where you try to avoid thinking about something and end up spending more time thinking about it and then to look and see if you outlawed something if it became more desirable (yes to both). And our actual experiments were to work on our translating what we feel and think to what we actually need, so the old idea of drinking water when you think you’re hungry to find out if you’re actually hungry or just thirsty. I seriously struggled with all of this chapter. I’ve always had issues with ironic rebound, but have over the past six months or so allowed myself to think about things I shouldn’t and then just let them slowly fade away and that’s really helped out.

McGonigal had a great conclusion and even said she had to fight her own willpower for needing to have the last word (or a really good agent) and left the conclusion open-ended with questions and follow-up notes for the reader to continue improving their willpower!

I’m glad I did the project, but I’m not sure doing it by myself worked as well as it could. In addition I definitely should’ve picked a much narrower willpower challenge, but lesson learned. I also found it REALLY helpful to have these steps laid out and the hurdles you might face laid out to be incredibly helpful. Knowing that the minor changes you make, like walking up the stairs, are just as important as the major changes made me feel great about something as simple as not having been in an elevator once so far in 2014!

It was great to find out that I apparently have a lot of willpower, but often run out of it. I think I’ve struggled over the last 10 weeks with my willpower challenge as I’m putting my willpower into so many projects at the moment that I need to regroup and prioritize. Trying to get out of debt, lose weight, eat healthy, plan new projects at work, save money and plan new personal projects is most definitely overwhelming. I definitely learned that it’s okay when I face set backs, but more importantly I learned that I just can’t be too hard on myself. I just need to regroup and move forward!

I’d definitely recommend checking out this book, but I would recommend reading through it completely once and then picking out the chapters you think you need the most help with and focusing on those challenges and steps!

Check out previous weeks’ posts below:


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