Willpower is a concept often bandied around the fitness and weight loss communities as the all important factor that holds so many people back from achieving their goals. However we view things a little differently. Willpower is not important. Infact, you don’t want to use willpower.
The use of willpower indicates you have a decision to make, in the moment, about what you are going to do. Will you ‘be good’ or will you ‘be bad’? This is a dangerous place to be and one that makes changing your behaviour pretty darn miserable. This is why so many people say they hate exercise/eating well/going to bed/whatever else, because they have to make a tough decision and attempt to push themselves away from their natural urges. This by definition is tough and unnatural!
“What shall I do instead?” I hear you asking…make a plan.
When you have a plan, and you are prepared, you are taking away the decision. You no longer have to make a real time decision of what you are going to do and therefore it actually becomes more effort to deviate from what you are supposed to be doing!
- Don’t keep crappy food in the house. You have a craving? Great. Are you going to get off the sofa, go all the way to the shop to buy that piece of cake, or will you resign yourself to an apple you have in a fruit bowl 3 feet away and quickly forget your craving?
- Tempted by work colleagues to have a less than healthy lunch on the go? If you prepared something the night before, and brought it in with you..you are saving money, and you won’t want to waste food, and doing the healthy thing, with ease! You don’t even need to make any more effort, just cook extra of what you have for dinner.
- Say you’ll go to the gym ‘tomorrow’ instead, every single day? Find a workout buddy and arrange a couple of days every week for gym time, and put them in your diary for every week. Now they are there, become habit and you don’t want to let your friend down.
All you are doing is taking away that question.
That’s not to say willpower is completely defunct; of course you need the will to make a plan. This is much easier, you can do it whilst highly motivated and it soon becomes a habit and something you will seamlessly do, without even realising.
So next time you hear someone saying ‘they just don’t have enough willpower’ you can tell them how it is…
Screw willpower!Author Profile: Tim Drummond’s career in the health industry has taken him from a Personal Trainer to a globally acknowledged Health Coach and Mentor. A published author the book ‘The 30/30 Body Blueprint. He has contributed to national press including The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Express. He is a passionate blogger via www.TimDrummond.com. He co-created Arete Fitness who specialise in transforming the health, lives and bodies of busy women around the world. Arete’s mission is to reinvigorate the outdated perceptions of female health and fitness…. 30 minutes at a time. www.Aretefitness.co.uk