One of our fitness family shared a cool video on DNA Health Talk today and I figured I would elaborate for you here.
This is a subject that we don’t really think about but is very important when it comes to our goals. The subject is Will Power
. Strangely enough, when I spoke at Maryville University the other day, this is part of what I said.
Willpower, in the minds of many has an indefinite limit. It is just a matter of us exercising that will power
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That was the common belief up until the 1960’s when researchers began to study willpower. The study in the video I spoke of is the one that seemed to be the breakthrough about how willpower works.
The basics of the video explain that the more willpower and decision making we encounter as the day goes on, the harder it is to make the right decision. This almost sounds like we now have an excuse for unhealthy decisions that do not align with our goals.
So it turns out that willpower actually has a finite limit.
When we exercise our willpower, it depletes and becomes less effective as the day goes on depending on the importance of the decisions you make throughout the day. For example, if you have a big project that is due today and you start your day of with spending 10 minutes figuring out what you’re going to wear and five minutes deciding on breakfast, making decisions on what route you’re going to take to work, what you will have for dinner and so on you’re will power is being depleted.
Then, when it comes to your big project, you will have a tough time getting started, may be less creative, have less energy and pay less attention to detail.
This is why planning and prioritizing is key. Anytime we can automate a task or take away from the decision making process the better off we will be when it comes to the bigger decisions. If you pre-cook your meals, you don’t have to decide what to eat, if you get your clothes ready the night before it takes away from using that willpower tomorrow.
Write down what you want to accomplish the night before and do each task in order of importance. I have found this to be really helpful in accomplishing goals, in managing my time and my sanity.
Things to Take into Account
There is some research out there that states when pursuing fat loss as your goal, you should not begin a training regime because some of that finite willpower will be used towards your exercise rather than your eating habits. The thinking behind this is that nutrition is more important than exercise (which essentially it is).
I would have to disagree with separating the two simply because I have seen long term results first hand with myself and with clients that began a training program and a new way of eating simultaneously, but science is science right?
The Hard Part
Here is the hard part and the part that not many people want to hear. The truth is, most people set goals and think, because they’ve set goals and do some things right, they are entitled to achieve those goals.
The truth is when you set goals, you must prioritize what is most important
. Is your goal more important than watching a whole season of The Walking Dead while eating Reese’s Pieces? Is your goal more important than an extra half hour of sleep? Is your goal more important than watching the game on Sunday versus cooking your food for the week?
Look, excuses are like breaking wind…no-one wants to hear it and most of them stink. We can all make excuses for why we didn’t reach our goals, but at the end of the day, we must prioritize what is most important and what is going to take up the majority of your willpower over the course of the day.
This is the only way to reach our goals, develop lifelong habits and become a better version of ourselves when it comes to willpower.
Hope you enjoyed reading how to exercise will power effectively by Michael Keane
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