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. At Sexy in the City we view things a little differently. Willpower is not important. In fact, 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! Here are some examples:
Don’t keep junk food in the house
Got a craving? Great. Are you really going to get off the sofa and trek all the way to the shop to buy that piece of cake, or will you resign yourself to the apple you have in your fruit bowl three feet away and quickly forget your craving?
Prepare your lunch
Tempted by work colleagues to indulge in a less than healthy lunch on the go? If you prepared something the night before, and bring it in with you to work… you will have saved money, and you won’t want to waste food, so you’ll take the healthy option with ease! You don’t even need to make any more effort, just cook extra of what you have for dinner.
Start a routine
Do you find yourself saying ‘I’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 it in your diary every week. Once you have a routine in place, it becomes habit and you won’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. As 1989 ING NYC Marathon winner Juma Ikangaa once said, ‘The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.’
Preparation makes it much easier and you can do it when you’re feeling highly motivated. Soon it will become 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! I’m prepared!
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