Willpower. It’s an essential to being successful, but it can be abused. So, how do you effectively acquire and use willpower? Well, there are a number of guidelines and steps to use willpower to your advantage.
When we connect willpower to fitness, we often think of “diet”. Willpower in fitness is much for than this, but what you decide to put on your plate everyday takes a lot of willpower. Sometimes you feel like you just can’t resist that pizza, those chips, or that sweet treat. Out at an event surrounded by food, those donuts are just calling our names! Everyone else around is eating them, so as expected, we’re tempted. Of course, this is natural because we are all human. We live in a society that evolves around the fast food, the alcohol, and the tasty treats, giving addictive temporary satisfaction. The biggest step in controlling these cravings is to create a strong foundation on why you really don’t want to eat junk food. For instance, maybe your goal is to lose weight. But why do you want to lose weight? To be more healthy, happy, to meet a requirement? Whatever this reason may be, It has to be strong enough for you to be able to crave the result rather than crave a temporary and forgettable food. As they say, “You won’t remember how that cookie tastes tomorrow, but you will remember the result of it.” On the other hand, if you’re an extremely active athlete and your metabolism is amazing, you know that you won’t necessarily gain fat from junk food. So why create willpower to resist? Eating better is much more than losing weight. It’s prolonging life, ability, energy, and getting lean. It’s fueling your body properly for your activity. The next time you see a junk food that you want, and you know you haven’t been on your healthy eating game lately, think to yourself, I want this, but I want the results of persistence more. Don’t try to tell yourself that you don’t want the food. Stop internally repeating “I won’t eat it. I won’t eat it”. This just makes you think about eating it even more. Respect that you are human and accept the fact that you want it, but realize that you want your goal even more. If your goal doesn’t mean that much to you, or it revolves only around trying to impress someone else or social media, chances are, this weak foundation of willpower will not stand. If you are going after your goal for yourself, or the help of others, however, this will give you a leg up and have a strong willpower foundation. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you eat healthy and are active 80% or more of the time, it’s okay to have a cheat meal every so often in occasional and controlled portioned. Don’t deprive yourself! If you look at a food and know that it’s going to make your boat go slower or stop, don’t proceed. However, if it will make the boat go faster, go ahead. Keep these little reminders in mind when faced with a willpower based decision. If you believe in yourself (which you always should!), you won’t make the poor decision. Once you practice these reminders, strong willpower will become second nature to you.
Willpower needs to be used in training as well. If you have a fitness goal, you know that some days you just want to curl up on the couching flip on your favorite TV shows instead of train. Even the most committed fitness loving athletes get this feeling sometimes. Just think… the time is going to pass by anyway, so you might as well be moving and being productive. The pain of choosing physical stress of relaxation and comfort will not last forever, and once you get into your workout, it’ll turn out fun and good-feeling anyway! Every rep, every training session counts toward your goals. Your might as well be working on it, right? 🙂
Despite these reminders and little quotes, you cannot have good willpower if you do not believe in yourself tome the right decision or if you do not have a strong goal. You need to have faith in yourself and the genuine want for the goal to succeed.
You may be wondering how willpower can be abused. Well, let me explain. Sometimes, when you learn to have a lot of willpower in fitness (resisting junk food, choosing a workout over the couch, pushing yourself to do more instead of the easy way out), you practice it way too much. Although it is a key component to success, it NEEDS to be paired with self control in a few ways to work. If you are injured, and you need to rest, but you’re so used to choosing the workout over the couch, you could end up even more injured. You may end up addicted and conformed to this “willpower” to the point where you could force yourself to exercise intensely while injured. In an other example, If you’re an extremely active athlete and your body may need a sugary protein bar or two to raise glucose levels. If your willpower tendencies have trained you to resist that amount of sugar and calories, you will deprive yourself of what you may need. Or, you will resist sugary or carb dense foods so much that eventually your willpower gives out and you end up over-eating (not good). Self control comes from knowledge, acceptance, and, well, common sense. If you are an athlete with a torn ACL that needs to be healed, and you’re so caught up in the willpower to chose going for a run instead of sitting, you could beat yourself up about not running and go out to injure yourself even more. Embarrassingly, I have done this. I had a minority torn tendon in my wrist, and I was so caught up with my goal and my willpower that I made the terribly stupid decision to keep upper body training with it. As my wrist got worse, my knowledge and common sense met with me, and I developed self control to resist further hurting myself. The key is to always keep one thing on the top of your priority list, even above your goals: your overall health mentally and physically. This is the perfect way to stay controlled and sane minded.
I hope that you benefit from this post and please like and share if you found this helpful. Check out my site for more! – Mighty Mo