Willpower: Want MORE of it?
Dec 22, 2016
Today I want to ask you a question- how many of you are struggling with WILLPOWER?
How many of you think that willpower is what's holding you back from achieving your goals?
So that is the question, it comes up a lot in my coaching sessions when I'm meting 1:1 with clients and it just came up again at the wrap up of our 21 Day Challenge! So often what will happen is people will say "I just don't have any willpower when it comes to this one thing"- fill in the blank for yourself- what's your one thing? Last week as I was asking the 21 Day Challenge participants what are you going to do moving forward? A lot of them said "I am just going to practice willpower of staying discipline and sticking to it even when I'm faced with all these temptations". And I kinda called them out on this and we had a great discussion so I wanted to share that with you guys today...
I wanted to talk about this topic of willpower and I think it is COMPLETELY overrated and it is something that is really hard to grasp. So, I want to challenge the idea and say that willpower is not actually your problem at allbut, what I believe is, that its your inability to prepare or set yourself up for success before you get to that place where willpower becomes an issue that is the real problem and planning really is the key to your success.
So, let's break that down.
A lot of times people say "I don't have willpower when surrounded by certain foods". The thing is that if you set yourself up to fail by showing up to wherever your going hungry because you haven't eaten, your blood sugar levels are falling down, you're starting to crash, maybe you're feeling a little bit crabby so your irritable because you're HANGRY, and you don't have anything to eat that you've brought like a protien bar or a snack AND you don't know what your options will be when you get there- you are TOTALLY setting yourself up for failure.
It's not fair to say "I don't have willpower" because now you're talking about a chemical equation and it is just chemistry that's happening in your body- hormonally, emotionally, everything, you're setting yourself up to where when you're body physiologically sees food, especially if it is high fat, high sugar, its on a blood sugar dip, of course your hormones are going to be saying I WANT THAT FOOD. And you're going to have a really tough time, it becomes a battle between you and your internal structure chemically and hormonally to fight for what's right. It's not fair to you to set yourself up for those situations.
Likewise, when you get to the spot where you're saying "I have no willpower to get up in the morning. I really want to start the 6AM workouts but I don't have the willpower to get up. The alarm goes off and I hit the snooze button and 5 snoozes later I've totally missed the 6AM workout".
Here we go again, is the willpower the problem? Or is the problem what you did the night before and how you chose to set yourself up for bed and your quality of sleep your getting to not wake up tired but refreshed? So the issue isn't when I wake up what happens it's how do I set myself up to wake up refreshed and ready to go? Because that's the situation. Now we're talking about planning versus willpower in the moment.
So what I would suggest if that's your struggle:
Are you getting to bed on time to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep to feel refreshed when you wake up. If you're trying to hit that 6AM workout on 5 hours of sleep you are setting yourself up for failure. If you do make it to the workout you're going to be exhausted, your nervous system is not in the optimal place to be pushing hard especially for a high intensity workout, you will increase your chance of injury, you won't recover as fast, you'll have more fatigue so you won't be able to push as hard- you're not putting yourself in a good space! So, what are you doing to set yourself up to get the quality of sleep you need AND stay asleep all night? What is your sleep hygiene like? What are you doing before bed? Are you taking a bath? Meditating? Praying? Listening to an audio book? Reading? Are you getting off the computer 1.5 hours before bed? Setting yourself up, then eliminates the willpower problem in that specific moment.
Setting yourself up before going out to a restaurant by not skipping meals or starving yourself to save your calories and then totally blowing it in the restaurant! You can set yourself up for success by eating every 3-4 hours during the day and maybe having a snack 30 minutes before leaving- something high in fiber, with some protien that will fill you up to take the hunger edge off so you show up not starving, maybe not even hungry, but you can enjoy a small plate of food rather than appetizers, drinks, a main course, dessert and turn it into a 3000 calorie night.
The basic premise is: is willpower the actual problem? My challenge to you is NO- WILLPOWER IS OVERRATED. Ask yourself the question "Am I setting myself up to fail or setting myself you up to succeed? Because then you can be honest with yourself- you know the answer before you get there. Are you running around all day, scrambling at night, staying up late, knowing your not going to sleep well but setting the alarm anyways and struggle and push through it? I am all about pushing hard and sometimes you have to do what you have to do but if this is your routinely way of operating its only a matter of time before you break and fall off track.
Stay true to what you really want!
My question to you is this: What do you really want? Where are you struggling with willpower and you wish you had more and how can you make the switch and set yourself up for more success?
I would love to hear form you where else your struggling with this!
One last thing I want to touch on is alcohol- a lot of people struggle with this one! Again, how are you setting yourself up? Are you showing up to a party with pellegrino or sparkling water? Do you have a plan around your drinking? What I think is great is having a glass of wine and then club soda with lemon or lime- no one knows its not a drink! But knowing ahead of time what you're going to do and what actions to take will set you up for success rather than showing up unprepared, exhausted, hungry, thirsty and just grabbing whatever is being offered.
My challenge to you is instead of being REACTIVE be PROACTIVE. Set yourself up, PLAN.
How can I set myself up for success- get rid of that willpower word!
You got this!
I believe in you!
Christine has been actively teaching and training in the health and fitness industry for 20 years. Her success in helping to motivate and shape the lives of thousands stems from her own personal passion for health, fitness and great food as well as a respect for living a balanced life. As a mother of three and business owner, she continues to focus on her own fitness by competing regularly in cycling, triathlon and running events as well as constantly stepping our of her comfort zone to try new things!