Willpower – Something that many people wish they had more of. A quick internet search of the definition brought me the following definitions:
1. Control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control.
2. Energetic determination.
3. The strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans.
4. The ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions.
I don’t like the word willpower. Yes, it’s a real word and it really exists, but I don’t like it. I feel like a lot of people use the word willpower as an excuse as to why they can’t do certain things. Like they can’t stop themselves from eating bad foods because they have no willpower. That really sounds like an excuse to me. Almost like their actions are being justified in their head because they think they don’t have willpower. Of course you can stop yourself from eating bad food, the question is will you choose to? I really do believe many people think they don’t have willpower, but I believe they are wrong. It may be difficult to make the right decisions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made.
There seems to be a theme with people I see who want to make positive healthy changes, but don’t. They usually seem to get in their own way more than anything else. People are so often their own worst enemy. If you are struggling with making healthy changes, do yourself a favor and get out of your own head. I think the majority of people, whether just getting started or a fitness enthusiast, are able to do more than they give themselves credit for. I’m most definitely including myself in that mix. You’ll never know what you can do unless you actually try. The feeling of accomplishing things you never thought you could do is unbelievable, but I’ll be talking more about that in a future post.
As for the word willpower, I prefer a different word. I like to look at it as “choices.” No matter how you look at it, you either choose to do something, or choose not to. It’s a choice to go to the gym just as it’s a choice not to. It’s a choice to give into temptation just as it’s a choice not to.
When people struggle with choices, especially with binge eating, and they are looking for advice on how to avoid it, I usually reply to them with the same response – really stop and think about what you are doing before you do it. Think about how you feel when you eat the junk food and how you feel when you eat the right foods.
Usually when poor choices are made people not only beat themselves up and are disappointed with themselves, but they also end up feeling sick physically as well. Conversely, if people make the right choices they feel great. They feel proud of themselves for making the right decision. They feel happy they were able to stop themselves from making another poor choice. Of course they’ll also feel better physically from fueling their body with the right foods. Choosing the right foods is a win-win and choosing the wrong foods is a lose-lose.
I really recommend paying attention to your body, no matter what choices you make. If you end up binge eating, then pay attention to how you feel after and remember it. Hang onto that horrible feeling inside of you so you can remember it for next time. If you stop yourself from making a bad decision, stop and think about. Think about how happy you are with yourself and how great you feel. Hang onto that feeling and burn it into your memory. This way the next time you find yourself in a situation where you are battling yourself, you can stop and think about the outcomes of your choice and hopefully make the right decision.
Unfortunately, it often comes down to how bad an individual really wants to change. It’s going to be pretty difficult to change if you don’t really want to. If you find yourself coming up with reasons why you can’t make positive changes, it’s time for a gut check. If you want something bad enough, then you don’t find reasons not to do it. You find ways to make it happen.
I’m sorry that I don’t want to hear about how you don’t have the willpower to make the right decisions. You have the ability to do it, you just have to make the right choices. You need to get out of your own way and help yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to come do it for you, do it yourself. Choose to not eat the doughnut. Choose to go to the gym. Choose to say no to beer and sugary snacks and in turn you’ll choose to be proud of yourself and feel amazing. That seems like an easy choice to me.