Back in March, I penned article on “wanting it more,” using the term “hunger” as a motivation amplifier. Yesterday, I sat in a meeting facilitated by an expert who suggested that “wanting” was not enough to obtain or accomplish. “Wanting” has to be paired with “desire.” That got me thinking about what desire is and how we can use it to change our habits for the better. Here’s some food for thought that you might be able to use to finally make that change you’ve been wanting to make.
When I look up the definition of desire, it seems like it’s just a more intense form of wanting. Not very helpful. But after the presentation, I had a great chat with Sam (the presenter), and I think I’ve figured out what he meant when he suggested that wanting wasn’t enough. Let me see if I can explain.
I want to lose 15 pounds after the holidays every year. I establish the standard resolution. A week goes by…hanging in there. Two weeks…slipping. Third week…crash and burn.
It seems that anytime I want to alter a habit that doesn’t serve me well, I replicate this pattern. And yelling “I WANT” louder and louder doesn’t make anything happen…unless I prepare for the crash.
For me, preparing for the crash means that I recognize this pattern in myself, see it coming, and with the picture of failure dead in my sights, yell “I WANT” louder. Just chanting it or writing it in uppercase isn’t enough. I’ve got to set up the choice of pursing my want or conceding to failure. That’s a good definition of desire for me.
Desire lets me understand the mechanism and defend my future against yet another exercise gone bad. Getting to the third week of January and falling off the wagon is me operating on autopilot…not present…not observing myself from a third-party perspective.
Desire makes me remember that my pattern wants to repeat itself when I’m flying on autopilot (and consequently I’ll fail at making the change).
Funny how it’s a competition between what I want and what my autopilot wants, isn’t it? Angel on one shoulder…devil on the other.
Desire makes me look at the potential collapse of willpower and see it as manageable as opposed to inevitable.
I often tell individuals attempting to alter some behavior pattern that it will seem easy in early stages. The want is strong, and there’s energy behind the choice to change. I also caution them to be prepared for the inevitable appearance of the autopilot that will attempt to drag them off course and plop them back in the middle of their comfort zone…and cause them to fail at their rebirth. If I can get them to identify that conflict, we stand a much better chance of confronting it and empowering the original choice rather than caving in to the autopilot collapse back to the comfort zone.
Want to make a change? Really want to make a change? Be prepared for your autopilot to make attempts to drag you back. That autopilot has had years to form within you…it’s proud of where it’s gotten you, and it’s not going to give up easily. When confronted by it, choose again to make your change and wait for the next attack! It’s a question of choice over reaction. The trick is, it’s not a matter of just choosing to pursue your goals once. You have to make that choice over and over again, until even your autopilot decides to go along with you.