Willpower is highly overrated – it’s all about habits
We all want to be healthy and fit, but our habits tend to derail our efforts. I have talked about how willpower is NOT the answer for this quite a bit recently, see my prior posts on Why you Eat Too Much (it’s not your willpower) and Three articles on successful change for more on these discussions.
Don’t get me wrong – we need willpower to move forward with any successful change. My point is that we make it work harder than it needs to by not addressing our attitude towards those habits which stand in our way of our goal.
What if our willpower is like our muscles? Is it possible we can do a “willpower workout” to strengthen and grow it?
The answer is yes, according to a growing body of research.
8 Things Mentally Strong People Do Every Single Day – The Willpower Workout
I am linking below to an article published in huffingtonpost.com titled “8 Things Mentally Strong People Do Every Single Day” by Amy Morin. Amy is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, college psychology instructor, internationally recognized expert on mental strength and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.
Here is a list of the eight daily habits of mentally strong people Amy discusses in her article:
1. They Use their Mental Energy Wisely
2. They Reframe Their Negative Thoughts
3. They Work Toward Established Goals
4. They Reflect on Their Progress
5. They Tolerate Discomfort for a Greater Purpose
6. They Practice Gratitude
7. They Balance Emotions with Logic
8. They Live According to their Values
Every one of these is a powerful tool when deployed. While they are all important, I resonate the most with numbers 2, 5, and 7 as truly essential to the change process. I talk at greater length about reframing in this post titled 5 strategies to fight stress.
Amy discusses each of these habits in a short but incisive paragraph, and I highly recommend reading her entire article.
Please always remember, change is a meal best eaten in small bites. To be truly effective, take the long view – implement smaller changes in a controlled sequential fashion so you can build each change into a habit. Be fair to yourself, and give yourself a goal which is reasonable – if it took you ten years to gain your current weight, it may not be reasonable to think you can lose it in a month. If you have not exercised in twenty years you shouldn’t expect to have a muscular fit body in two weeks at the gym.
The same expectation goes for the mental strength habits listed above – you will not likely change all of these overnight.
But….if you start and chip away at it a little at a time I promise you all of your health goals will come in due time.
Link to Huffington Post article: