Two Types of Will

Gerald Epstein, MD spoke of will being divided into two types. Desiring will and intentional will. Desiring will is the initial spark of what you want. People often have fleeting moments of this for improved health but even that is often disrupted by modern life. Social media, binge watching TV, alcohol, drugs, all tend to interfere with this. Intentional will which Dr. Epstein said “provides direction and constancy” is often lacking completely. Part of this direction and constancy is to leave the final outcome out of your mind. That is for God to take care of.

Just as the farmer desires a good crop, decides to plant and then works the land constantly, he doesn’t ultimately know the end result. So it should be in your health goals. Find a solid direction, establish new habits, but leave the end result to God. It takes the stress out of it and prevents you from trying to know the future which it is not your place to know anyway. You can always course correct as time moves on and you learn more but that is done in the present and not in some imaginary future. The slow but methodical work of the farmer is a great example. Work your health habits and choices like the farmer works his land and leave the amount and quality of the harvest to God.

We often have to own some of the poor habits we let go. That could be the daily choices away from optimal health of body and mind that we make. We need to be honest about this and admit that there are choices we have made with our health that we just don’t bring to light. It could be late night binging or simple food choices we know that aren’t good for us, but we choose them anyway, because we feel we deserve them. Bring them to the light, fully acknowledge that they don’t serve us, and then adopt the opposite for the next 21 days. If you constantly reward yourself with a sweet snack but know that it is bad for you, work on adopting the opposite, willfully deny yourself for 21 days. This act of denial is acknowledging the habit actively, owning it, so you can let it go. Then you can choose a better reward consistent with your health goals. When you do this you are as Dr. Epstein described “rousing your slumbering free will to life.”

Published by

Jonathan Carp, MD

Dermatologist, health food entrepreneur, beach addict, and health teacher.