TOPIC OF THE DAY: WILLPOWER
Ahhhh, this is such a great topic!! Let me start by asking you a few questions (feel free to comment below with your answers, or just ask your self in your head)
Have you ever started a workout routine, with the intention of staying consistent, and then gave up in 1-3 weeks?
Have you ever started a nutrition program guaranteed to get you fast results, and couldn’t stick with it for more than 1-3 weeks?
Have you ever been disappointed in yourself and thought, “if I just had more WILLPOWER I could stick with this!”?
Do you ever feel like your perceived lack of WILLPOWER gives you anxiety when you think about starting a new workout program or diet because you feel like you are just going to fail AGAIN?
I’m going to guess that most of us- if not all of us- have been there before.
There are some of us that have been there MANY times!
So what is the deal?? Do we all just lack the WILLPOWER it takes to achieve our health and fitness goals?
It’s not that we lack WILLPOWER, it’s that we often MISUSE it!!
In order to utilize WILLPOWER properly, we have to understand it better....
WHAT IS WILLPOWER?
Willpower is the CONTROL exerted to do something (or not do something) in opposition of an impulse.
In other words, it is using mental focus to physically do the opposite of what you want to be doing
It’s the mechanism you use to NOT eat a donut when you really WANT a donut....
HOW DOES IT FUNCTION?
In a metaphorical sense, It functions much like a muscle!
When willpower is used in short bursts and given adequate recovery time, it can get called upon frequently throughout the day with no issue!....
However, when willpower is called upon too often throughout the day for excessive amounts of time, your willpower (much like a muscle) runs out of fuel. It fatigues. It burns out. It reaches a point of failure.
If you burnout your willpower too many times without proper recovery time, you could potentially BLOWOUT your willpower!
This results in you acting on impulse alone, making you feel like you are not in control of yourself or your actions.... making you feel crazy and ashamed.
Is this making sense?? If you over use your willpower, you run out of willpower!!!
SO WHAT DO WE DO TO AVOID WILLPOWER BURNOUT/ BLOWOUT?
Willpower is called upon in the presence of internal CONFLICT.
We use it when we are getting ourselves to do something that we don’t really WANT to do.
Now you may be thinking, “well- Mackenzie, I WANT to eat healthy and exercise every day! I WANT to change my lifestyle! There should be no conflict!”
I’m going to tell you- you may THINK you want change, but NO ONE really WANTS change.
The funny thing about CHANGE is-ANY change, even a change you KNOW will be SO GOOD for you, creates anxiety! Seriously!!
We are creatures of habit and we feel COMFORTABLE in routine.... even if it’s a unhealthy routine!
You could change your hair color and have everyone compliment you on your hair color, but you will still have a bit of anxiety adjusting to your new hair color.
You could buy a new toothbrush because your old one is totally frayed and you will still get just a little bit of anxiety the first couple of times you use it.... “this doesn’t feel right...I miss my old toothbrush”
So can you imagine the level of stress that can come from asking yourself to change what you eat, how often you eat, how you workout, and how often you workout all at the same time??
Imagine the amount of willpower it would take to get yourself to do ALL those things you don’t want to do (because of your inherent instinct to resist change) throughout the day!
For most- it will take more WILLPOWER than you have!
IN ORDER TO AVOID WILLPOWER BURNOUT/ BLOWOUT, YOU MUST AVOID MAKING TOO MANY CHANGES AT ONCE. You have to be realistic about your commitments!
HEALTHY MINDSET TAKE AWAY OF THE DAY:
When starting a new health and fitness program, change 1-2 things at a time, implement them until they become a routine, THEN add the next 1-2 things!
Instead of going from working out NEVER to working out every single day, just start working out 1-2 days per week. Once that becomes comfortable, add another day!
Instead of going from eating fast food and sweets all day to eating 6 perfectly calculated and evenly spaced meals, each with balanced protein, carbs and fat, try just changing ONE meal! Focus on eating a healthy dinner every night, and once that becomes a routine, change the next meal!
Now, you may be able to mentally handle making more than 1-2 changes at once, and that is great!Just be HONEST WITH YOURSELF!
What are you REALLY willing to commit to and what amount of stress will it REALLY cause? Err on the side of caution! If you truly want to change your LIFESTYLE, there should be no rush.... just consistent forward progress.
But the main take away should be:
IF YOUR WILLPOWER IS SHOT, you need to ramp things up at a pace that you requires less willpower exertion through out the day, allowing for more consistent and permanent change!!
The coolest thing about the ramp up method is- 6 weeks from now, you will have implemented all of the changes you originally wanted to make without feeling like you want to cry every day!
Give it a try and let me know what you think!!!