Willpower Is Overrated
Let’s discuss the overrated term willpower.
You know, I am fairly confident that willpower is a load of garbage! Here is the thing, I think that we all have it and exercise it, but I don’t think for a second the difference between people that succeed in their fitness goals or don’t is will power. What really separates people is set up and planning. Lining things up so that they are EASIER for you is better than testing your will power, day in and day out. Just like hockey, it’s a lot easier to score on a breakaway than it is to have to go through the whole team. In each scenario you can score, but in one of them it is much more likely to happen!
Willpower is finite, and for the majority of people the more you test it then the more you put yourself in a position to fail. Let me give you a couple examples of what I am talking about, one in terms of working out and the other one in terms of what you’re eating.
#1 Grocery shopping. This is your best friend or your worst enemy. If you are trying to lose some weight this is your single best opportunity to do so. See, grocery shopping is a bunch of small decisions packed into one usual 30 min period. If you can exercise your willpower regarding food choices in this moment, then you have freed yourself of literally 100’s of choices per week. Think of how often you walk into your kitchen every day, it is a lot! By creating a clean grocery shop, you have pushed yourself onto a much easier path!
#2 The gym. Set up is king here again, put yourself in a position to succeed. Now, your exercise is generally a once every couple of days decision, but there are a lot of small decisions that go before this to either make it or break it. Example, first we have Billy, Billy says he is going to work out on Tuesday but hasn’t decided when. Billy gets to work and decides he will do it at lunch, but he finds out the office is ordering in so he decides to stay. No problem, Billy will go after work, except he realizes he left his gym clothes at home. Again, no problem as Billy zips home to get his gym clothes but is now hungry because he didn’t pack any snacks for the afternoon. It’s now 7 PM, and the weight of the day is upon him. He decides to put on the TV and just relax as it has been a long day.
Does this sound familiar? What happened was Billy didn’t plan at all and because of this he tested his willpower over and over that day until he broke.
Here is how Billy could have improved his chances at succeeding:
· Plan a very specific time and method to work out: Tuesday at 12 PM, treadmill for 30 min at speed 5.0 (the more specific and detailed your plan, the more likely you are to do it)
· Pack and prepare everything you need the previous night, this includes both food and clothes (setting this up makes sure there are less obstacles the next day as well as it mentally sets you up for your workout)
· Discover potential obstacles ( is there anything that can interfere with your workout, and if so, what is going to be your alternative plan that day to make sure it is done?)
Listen I can guarantee you that you already possess these skills mentioned above, look at anything that you do well and I promise the core of it is going to come down to planning ahead so that you minimize the chance of getting off track and having to rely on willpower alone to carry you.
As always, if you got questions, I am here to help.