What is will power?

To kick off, let’s define what will power means.

Will - The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action.

Power - The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.

So put the two together and you get the ability to decide and act on a course of action. In other words follow the “complicated” steps below:

1. Choose what you want to do.

2. Do it!

Easy isn’t it? What do you mean no? You want more? Well alright then.

For step one above:

What is it you want to achieve? In the case of the weight loss, what is your goal? Make sure it’s in the positive such as a target weight, or dress size, or certain shape. In other words how will you know when you’ve reached it? Be very clear about this. How will you feel when you have got it? What will people say about you when you’ve got it? What will you and others notice about you when you’ve got it?

Now here’s a really important bit. Whatever it is you are aiming for, do you really want it? I mean really, really. Do you want it enough to put the effort and time in to achieving it? If not, give up now. Go and do something else. If you do want it enough make a note of that reason or reasons, on paper, and stick it up around the house somewhere prominent. If your will power flags at any point go back and read this piece of paper. Remind yourself why this is so important to you. The new you has to have some worth. If it’s worth it enough to you to change you’ll change.

A tip here is once a week move the piece of paper somewhere else in the house; a different room or kitchen cabinet or door. This helps make sure it doesn’t become a piece of wallpaper and you stop noticing it.

For example for many years I’ve wanted to learn to play the blues harmonica. I’ve tried several times but never seem to keep up the practice. I’ve now decided that’s it’s because I don’t want it enough. It’s not important enough to me to do it. In other words it’s just not worth it.

On the other hand I’ve always been a runner, though very sporadic at times, and I’ve been meaning for years to get some proper coaching on it and learn to run in a more consistent way. I kept putting it off, running on my own, making the same old mistakes and getting the same old injuries. So it was decision time. Keep running as I did and accept the pain and injuries or get some proper support and run healthily. It was then a question of worth. Which side of that coin is worth the most to me? My decision, with a supportive nudge from my long-suffering wife, was to find a coach.

Now on to step 2:

Make it happen. Take the first step. Only you can do this for yourself. Only you can own it. Which is a good point. Is it within your control to make these changes? If not then it’ll be difficult to achieve. However, if it is there’s only you holding yourself back.

If you want someone to help support you I would suggest only asking one person; someone who is positive about the change you want and will be honest with you if you are slipping. The reason I say one person and not all your friends/family is that sometimes if you tell too many people you can feel under so much pressure that it all becomes too much. A smidge of pressure is a good thing but pushing yourself in to stress isn’t helpful.

Back to my running example: I took the first step. I am 6 weeks in to my coaching programme. There have been glitches and missed running sessions when life or old injuries got in the way of course. Life does tend to throw odd things at you. However I recently ran in an obstacle race and came 8th out of over 420 people…with no pain (other than bruises!) As for the willpower part of this, most of my training runs have been in the dark, in the wet and in the mud. Not the best conditions to motivate me to get out of the door after a day at work. But it’s worth it from two fronts: firstly I am feeling fitter and with less injuries already; and secondly with my Yorkshire heritage I’m paying money for the coaching and advice so I’m damn well going to get my money’s worth!

To summarise:

1. Be very clear on what you want to achieve and start the process of working towards it.

2. Write down your goals but also write down your reasons for the change. What’s it worth to you?

3. Write down your progress at regular intervals. This can be helpful to see how far you’ve come.

4. Tell one supportive and honest person what you’re doing and ask them to help monitor your progress.

5. Don’t be afraid if there are glitches along the way. Simply make sure you note why the glitch happened and what you will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If you want something enough you’ll make it happen.  So do you?

If you want some coaching to help you improve your will power then give us a shout and let's talk.

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