How to Will Yourself to Success
This article explores the courage, resilience and determinaton necessary to change our self-defeating thinking and behavior.
( August 4, 2009 - Scottsdale, AZ -- One struggle most of us face is gathering the strength and courage to break through the impasse of our own making which consists of avoidance and fear - the twin killers of growth. Why is it that some of us are motivated and can accomplish everyday tasks and set long-term goals? On the contrary, why is it that many of us avoid, procrastinate, and waste valuable time agonizing about our inability to carry out the simplest of tasks?

The implication of "willing ourselves to success" affects every aspect of our life. Some of us desire to lose weight, change jobs, exercise, make new friends, or learn new skills, but remain trapped in a web of our own making. Why do we choose the road of self-defeating behavior although we know that a different path will bring us to our desired goals and experience with success?

The will to act must be greater than the power to resist. More simply, the urge to accomplish a task must cascade until its force becomes irresistible. For some, this means a mounting volcano of frustration and anger, being fed-up with the familiar. A constructive energy to achieve must drown out the passive voice of laziness. Often, people say that an inner voice keeps hounding them until the clamoring sounds of change resonate and lead them forward.

We may resist the road to progress because of a prior pattern of failure. We may say, "I've tried that task before but it didn't work." Others may view the motivation to change as an either/or dilemma. "Either I must be 100% successful or I'll be a total failure." We may overlook the subtle changes that are necessary to complete a task. Goals may be unrealistic and set the stage for failure. An additional obstacle may involve when moving down the road of change and facing the peril of regression. Relapse may be viewed as a monumental set-back rather than a part of the growth process and lead us to completely give up on the new task.

Those who are unmotivated tend to harbor self-blame. They will blame themselves for their inability to change or will chastise themselves for any behavioral backsliding. With a mind-set of victim-posturing, the unmotivated will say, "It's no use; no matter how hard I try, I will always come up short; it's just my nature." Self-blame becomes an excuse for not trying. The self-involved focus is on personal failure rather than the impetus to move forward in spite of failure.

Often we remain unmotivated because we fear success. If we contemplate losing weight we may say, "What if I shed weight and start to look more attractive? How would that affect the way others view me? My friend might want to get close with me and I don't know if I am ready for that!" The fear of success often keeps us connected to the safety of the past.

The foundation for willing ourselves to success begins with the process of setting goals. We must start with identifying what we really want and need. Our thinking must be reframed to reflect a positive way of perceiving events. A friend who was unhappy with her life once told me, "I know that I am withdrawing from people and I believe that it is bad for me." It would have been preferable if she had said, "I need to feel connected with other people; I want to find a way to make that happen." How we frame our thoughts helps us to determine ways in which we can act upon them.

It is very difficult to achieve success when one lacks direction. Setting realistic goals is essential to increasing self-motivation. Goals need to be identified and "chunked down" into smaller parts. This makes getting motivated less confusing and easier to manage.

Giving yourself permission is an important ingredient to creating motivation. Often, we lack a sense of inner permission because we have relied on others to lead our lives. The fact that we have depended on others to direct our life leaves us feeling incompetent and thwarts the possibility for change.

Those of us who choose to be do-it-on-your-own grown-ups don't wait, don't procrastinate, but act. Life is too short. The fear of passing time may give us cause for urgency about changing our life and making things right. Such a feeling of urgency may create the conditions necessary for changing the quality of our character and behavior. We don't have forever to will ourselves to success. Today is the day to redeem that which we have put on hold.

James P. Krehbiel, Ed.S., LPC is an author, freelance writer and nationally certified cognitive-behavioral therapist practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. James is the featured Shrink Rap columnist for, an upscale arts, entertainment and lifestyle web magazine. He has contracted with New Horizon Press to publish his latest work entitled, The Search for Adulthood: Saying Goodbye to the Magical Illusions of Childhood. This book is about the impact of "unavailable" parenting on adults and the people they become. James can be reached at

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