I remember a time long ago when I didn’t even concern myself with willpower. It was something I either never needed or just always had. I didn’t have to discipline myself to eat right, exercise more, and get off Facebook.
That time is past.
When E and I started dating, before I started working at Curve even, I was skinnier. Not only was I skinnier, but I was healthier. We went through a phase (and i am regretful that it was only a phase and not a lifestyle) where we both got up super early, before E had to get ready for work, and he would drop me off at Curves to workout while he went to the gym with one of his work buddies. Curves was promoting a 12 week challenge at the time, and boy was I gung-ho! I was all about winning that challenge. You couldn’t knock me down even if you tried. I was hard at it. I was busting tail during my workouts and I was eating right too! That is the kicker for me! I was eating RIGHT!!! Healthy food. Vegetables. Lean protein. It was good for me.
Looking back, I think, “What happened?! Where did I go wrong? Where did WE go wrong?” I feel like I let E down just as much as I let myself down. How did it happen that I stopped eating green beans and started eating pizza? Not only that, how did it happen that I now feel like I have no willpower when it comes to food. In my refrigerator, I have salad mix and chicken breasts yet, as soon as someone mentions going out to eat, I’m all for it. Going out to eat isn’t necessarily bad, but making bad choices is and I often do. I then have what I call, “Eaters Regret.” I feel so upset with myself for eating something that I know is not getting closer to my goal.
More important than how I lost my willpower or even where it went, is how do I get it back?
It is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: energetic determination. So, I become energetically determined. Right… Isn’t exactly self-explanatory is it?
Maybe this will help. Here are some tips I found on harnessing your inner willpower and using it to benefit your life:
This site has some great insight, http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2009/02/top-10-ways-to-gain-willpower.html.
http://www.successconsciousness.com, also list some good information and exercises to overcome your nature and become more disciplined. Here is the list from their site:
- You are sitting in a bus or train and an old man or woman, or a pregnant woman walks in. Stand up and give up your seat, even if you prefer to stay seated. Act so, not just because it is polite, but because you are doing something that you are reluctant to do. This is an exercise in overcoming the resistance of your body, mind and feelings.
- There are dishes in the sink that need washing, and you postpone washing them for later. Get up and wash them now. Do not let your laziness overcome you. When you know that in this way you are developing your will power, and if you are convinced of the importance of will power in your life, it will be easier for you to do whatever you have to do.
- You come home tired from work and sit in front of the T.V., because you feel too lazy and too tired to take a shower first. Do not succumb to the desire to sit in front of the T.V, and go and take a shower.
- You may know your body needs some physical exercise, but instead you keep on sitting doing nothing or watching a movie. Get up and walk, run or do some other physical exercise.
- Do you like your coffee with sugar? If you do, then for one whole week drink it without sugar. Do you drink three cups of coffee each day? If you do, then drink only two cups a day for one whole week.
- Sometimes, when you want to say something that is not important, decide not to say it.
- Don’t read some unimportant gossip in the newspaper, even if you want to.
- You have a desire to eat something not too healthy. For the sake of the exercise refuse the desire.
- If you find yourself thinking unimportant, unnecessary, negative thoughts, try to develop a lack of interest in them, by thinking about their futility and uselessness.
- Overcome your laziness. Convince yourself of the importance of what is to be done. Convince your mind that you gain inner strength when you act and do things, in spite of laziness, reluctance or senseless inner resistance.
Never say that you cannot follow the above exercises, because you certainly can. Be persistent no matter what. Motivate yourself by thinking about of the importance of performing the exercises, and the inner power and strength you will gain.
Trying to attempt too many exercises when you are still a beginner, might end in disappointment. It is better to start with a few easy exercises at first, and then gradually increase their number and move to the more difficult exercises.
Most of these exercises can be practiced anywhere and at anytime, and you don’t have to devote special times for them. They will train and develop your inner strength, enabling you to use it when you need it.
If you practice weight lifting, running or aerobics, you strengthen your muscles, so that when you need to move or carry something heavy, for example, you have the strength for it. By studying French each day, you will be able to speak French when you travel to France. It is the same with will power and self-discipline; by strengthening them, they become available for your use when you need them.
If for the sake of an exercise, you stop doing something that you usually do, and overcome the inner resistance concerning it, you may resume doing it, if it is not harmful. For example, if you love drinking orange juice, and for the sake of an exercise you switch to drinking apple juice, after doing so for some time, and after it makes no great difference to you, you may go back to drinking orange juice, if you still like it. The point here is to develop inner strength, not making life difficult for you or continue doing things you don’t like to do.
Hopefully, by making good habits and breaking bad ones (man, I’m really on that soap box this week!) I can regain my willpower and become a more productive and disciplined person. It will be so nice not to feel out of control when it comes to my decisions! (…but don’t for a second think I’m giving up chocolate…)