Strengthen Your Resolve with Kindness

Cultivating Compassion and Understanding

Ask the question “how to break a bad habit” or “integrate new changes” and most people will tell you “Willpower!”

The other day I heard it called the “just say NO response”
Cute … no?

Would you be surprised to know that when we want to make life changes – letting go of bad habits and reinforcing good habits; we need to depend as much on compassion and self understanding as we do on willpower?

That without compassion for ourselves it’s incredibly difficult to cultivate and strengthen   our self-control?

This is why, when we are enthusiastic and energised we can easily stick with new changes, but the moment we are over-wrought or something derails our good intentions, all our self control goes flying out of the window.

Roy F Baumeister, PhD and co-author of Willpower: Rediscover the Greatest Human Strength, asked himself a similar question:

“Why despite our best intentions, does willpower fail?”

He conducted a series of studies to test a theory that perhaps willpower was a limited resource and could be depleted.

What he discovered was that as we constantly engage in all the everyday tasks that we have to get done”; we have to put aside emotions, stifle desires and impulses, concentrate our effort and persist at tasks we don’t necessarily love and enjoy. These significantly deplete our willpower reserves.

So when we spend all day doing things and being in situations that bring little real pleasure, and on top of that try to “force” change in our lives purely by willpower; we will undoubtedly have a very tough time of it!

For example, if we are offered cookies and use only willpower to refuse them, the next temptation that arises will be even harder to resist and so on. In a study where two groups of dieters were asked to eat pastries and candy; the first group were gently reminded that everyone eats too much sometimes, and it’s just no big deal. They said nothing to the second group.

The  result? The first group ate two thirds LESS than the second group.

Studies done recently in the UK showed that when the participants were directed to eat something rich and decadent with absolute relish and pleasure, their immune systems were actually stimulated! In the participants who ate their choices feeling guilty and bad, the function of their immune systems measurably slowed down.

Proving once again Kindness and Compassion build us up and frees up our energy so we can support ourselves so much more easily!

We have been conditioned to the idea that our thoughts are something that “happen to us” – something that is out of our control – or worse, the idea that thought (or our mind) is “our master”.  The mind IS a terrible ‘master’, yet tempered with the hearts wisdom it can be a wise and a supportive friend to help us achieve our desires.

In study after study the blame/shame/self-judgment cycle of our critical minds and thought processes are being consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. Mind-over-matter must be tempered with the qualities of the heart; kindness, compassion, self-understanding.

From Willpower Weakling to Warrior of Resolve

Imagine your Willpower Reserves like a bank account. Every activity you engage in is either a withdrawal or an increase to your reserves. The activities that bring easy pleasure and you do effortlessly add to the reserve; activities that take a concentrated effort to get through them take away from the reserves.

You take a mindful walk in the evening. Makes a deposit.

You have a meeting to attend to at work. Makes a withdrawal.

You buy yourself flowers just because. Makes a deposit.

Have the urge to speak up to someone and don’t. Makes a withdrawal.

You choose food to eat that brings pleasure. Makes a deposit.

Eat a meal because it’s quick and you’re in a rush. Make a withdrawal.

You get the idea.

It’s not always simple of course, but over time you can move from forceful action to a balance between effort and pleasure.

If you need extra encouragement and support, consider having an accountability partner, a friend or engage a Coach/Mentor to help you move forward and support you in your compassionate practices

Every time you engage in changing an aspect of yourself, you’ll have days when you get off track. We all do this.  Applying compassion, and the understanding to yourself that no effort is ever lost, will help you get back on the wave and ride it again.

Kindness is the foundation of self-discipline, strengthening your will-power and keeping yourself motivated.

Kindness is the birth place of creative thinking that creates the space to find other ways, better ways, that build our confidence and support our efforts.

Breathe, relax and surrender the control of ‘getting things done regardless’; move towards what feels good to be doing and watch your unwanted habits begin to dissolve.

Instead of fighting your so called bad habits or weaknesses, promising to give them up, only to feel miserable each time you fail and then feel more worthless…

Befriend them, engage in them mindfully and consciously and pay attention to what you are doing each time. It is in our awareness of each action that we learn to let them go with more ease.

Move towards activities that inspire you.

Study the things in your life that bring you happiness.

Do more of those things you enjoy, become clearer about how you want to feel, and discover a deeper connection to your true desires, to those you love, to nature and to your higher purpose.


If you are ready to build a strong foundation that gives you energy, inspiration and new purpose, let’s talk.

 Contact me to book a 30 minute complimentary call

We can go over where you are and what you are looking to achieve through a coaching relationship. If we are a good match I’ll be delighted to share my coaching practices with you. Each are highly customizable to your specific needs so that I can best support you in achieving the vibrant happy life you are meant to live.






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