Willpower, in its essence, is the ability to say Stop! and Go!—this is the simplest formula for achievement. The decision to resist or get going is not more complex than that.
A determined Stop! is death to your circular rumination, linear procrastination, and spiral temptation. A determined Go! is death to your musty laziness, rusty will, and gusty fear of uncertainty.
Even as I’m entertaining myself with such semi-creative adjectives, all I’m doing is saying Stop!—to flee from my sexual arousal. I can’t just say Stop! and then do nothing. I would fail. I have to say Stop! and Go! because I can’t just say Stop! to stop thinking about sex. I also have to say Go! to start writing.
In fact, most of the blog posts I have written in the past few weeks started out as results of me saying Go! after I had put forth my Stop! against sexual temptation. In other words, I actively distract myself from failing. I distract myself by writing. Why don’t you write down whatever comes to your mind next time your discipline gets challenged? Try it out!
Since action is the essence of willpower, the key is to overcome the tempted body and excuse-making mind with a powerful will that executes constructive deeds: work, walk, write, work out. Say Go! and do it.
And whenever you switch from Stop! to Go!, pause for a moment to become aware of your belly. Do you feel the grounded fire burning below your chest? That is the power of your will. You can feel it as you discipline yourself. Feel it grounding itself, blazing, and emanating its strength! For if you flee from Stop! to Go! too hastily, temptation might pull you back into its losership empire. To shatter its greedy claws, ground yourself after your Stop!—meditate on the power of your will, just for two seconds, and then you Go!
To learn more about willpower, check out my book Willpower Condensed.