Discovering My Challenge Within My Willpower Challenge

Book Discussion

I have to say that my willpower challenge is still going well. If I learned anything at all from Kelly McGonigal's The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It it's that paying attention to why you are -- or are not -- doing something is really important. Taking real breaks during my day has helped immensely but even though things are going well there are still times I struggle.

Let me set the scene for you. It's a Friday. I had spent much of Thursday thinking it was Friday which made it actually being Friday even more awesome than most Fridays. I got up earlier than normal because our new mattress was being delivered that day and my husband I and had to move our existing mattress into another room before he left for work. Then I sat down and got to work because I knew that my work day was going to be interrupted at some point by the delivery and that it would be easy to get distracted. I needed to get some to do items knocked off before that happened.

I had one of those broad five hour delivery windows. It was fine for the first few hours because I never expect to be the first stop on the delivery route. Then it started to get later and it edged into the last hour of delivery, which happened to overlap with lunch. I didn't particularly want to stop and take lunch because then I'd be stopping again to take a break when it arrived. Also, I had the horrible feeling that as soon as I started to make lunch they'd show up. So, the clock ticked away and I got increasingly restless. And hungry.

Just before the end of the delivery window I got a call saying they'd be arriving soon so I decided to wait even longer to take my break. An hour past the end of the delivery window and I called them to ask if it was still coming. Within a half hour of that call my delivery finally arrived and I finally ate. I took a short break but I struggled the rest of the afternoon. I was still irritated. I couldn't focus. I tried doing a few laps around the house. I had a snack. I played music. I even tried a few minutes of mediation. I couldn't seem to hit my internal reset button and then I got annoyed with myself, which just made things worse.

reset button

Credit: Reset button via Shutterstock

I'm good at acknowledging I've had a bad day at the end of the day and forgiving myself for it. I will always have a bad day now and then because no one has good days all the time. I just make sure I do better the next day. It's when I find myself struggling in the middle of the day and I try to hit my reset button that I hit brick walls. That Friday I was frustrated none of the tactics were working for me until I got my "Aha!" moment in the comments of my post about what I've learned so far from the willpower challenge. Malia (tvdinnerpro) commented that she's been thinking about what she gets out of not doing her challenge.

My coworkers knew my day would be interrupted at some point by the delivery. I had started work early to accommodate the interruption. There was no good reason to not take my lunch break at my usual time except for this -- my day wasn't going the way I had planned and I was refusing to roll with it. Or to put it more bluntly, I was being a stubborn ass and didn't really want to set my reset button. I wanted to be annoyed about it.

My challenge within my challenge is learning how to hit my reset button. I need to get better a letting go in the moment and not just at the end of the day. Learning not to be a stubborn ass about things wouldn't hurt either (that one probably applies to many areas of my life).

Have you thought about what you get out of not not doing your willpower challenge? How do you hit your reset button?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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