Is My Willpower Challenge Over Now?

Book Discussion

When we first starting talking about Kelly McGonigal's book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It, I was intrigued but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about actually doing my willpower challenge. What would I learn? Would be be scary? What if I failed? Well, I've learned and I've struggled. Does that mean I'm done now?

finish line

Credit: Running toward the finish line via Shutterstock

I do think that there probably are challenges that one can finish. I think it's possible to get in the habit of drinking water instead of soda. I think it's possible that there may come a point where working exercise into your daily routine may be as normal as your daily cup of coffee. Sure, it's conceivable that there will come a day when I don't find myself procrastinating by searching for that dopamine hit in the next Facebook refresh. I'm not there yet and I don't know that I'll ever be there 100%. And yet, I've learned a lot through this process.

I've learned that not taking real breaks, or continually postponing my break, doesn't do me any favors. I've learned that sometimes I really suck at resetting. I've learned to ask myself what I get out of not doing something -- a question I'm not sure I ever would have learned to ask on my own. I've learned that challenges are about good days and bad days and none of us get it right all the time. I've learned that the idea of perfection sometimes -- possibly even often -- needs to be sacrificed in favor of good enough. I've learned that I'm not alone, that there are things we all struggle with and that I'm not the only person who sometimes thinks the things that challenge her are silly.

We're winding down our group discussions about The Willpower Instinct and I've learned a lot but I know I'm not done yet. I still have work remaining with the challenge I set out to do. I'm still learning when to take those daily breaks that help me stay on track. I still want to test out some of her strategies with different challenges. I didn't think the fishbowl exercise was a great fit for my procrastination challenge, but I'd love to try it with a fitness challenge in the future.

What have you learned during your willpower challenge? What are you going to continue to work on?

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

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