In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, however, theory most usually remains theory. When it comes to making a change in one’s life, we are often told that we can do it on our own and that it is just a matter of willpower. Anyone who has struggled with getting rid of a habit has most likely experienced that willpower alone is not enough. So how do we stay on track when the will is lacking?
If you want to write a thriller, find a partner in crime. If you want to write poetry, find a partner in rhyme. Join a club or even start one and commit to sharing your work regularly. Make other members accountable. The same could be said for exercise, meditating or learning a new skill. We are social animals and tend to be more motivated when we can share our successes and setbacks. It is much easier to keep to a promise we make to someone else than one we only make to ourselves.
Willpower is a strange animal. At times, we can actually rely on it. At others, it has a will of its own! The chimp in us may be more wired to respond to social pressures and social incentives. This is where help from the outside can make a big difference.
Find a partner or even better create your own accountability team. Trust me, it is so much easier when you partner up with people who are willing to support you in exchange for your support.
In theory, we can make changes on our own without anybody’s help.
In practice, we need partners!
Photo: Loic Lopez
This blog is part of a renewed 42-day writing challenge inspired by Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Book.