The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

Willpower and Exercise

Will power.

Such a funny concept.

For some people change and sticking to exercise is all about will power.  For others, will power is an outdated concept that misses the whole point of true desire.  If you truly desire something, then you don’t need “self-discipline” as the actions will come about naturally.

I think will power definitely has its uses, especially after you’ve started to take on an action, but I am definitely a convert to the latter concept with starting an action.  Less forceful change and more desirous change will get you to take the actions much more consistently, easily and will be a much more enjoyable experience overall.

I guess, if you want to get into semantics, you can say that I’m talking about two different concepts – willfulness and willingness.  But that’s neither here nor there, as the bottom line question is, how do you allow yourself to want to take certain actions that you don’t currently enjoy?

Ibrahim Senay recently conducted a number of experiments that showed that our self-talk can influence both our willpower along with our intrinsic motivation to do a certain behavior.  The problem with most change efforts is that we start to feel “forced.”  We not only want to change, but we say we WILL.

By saying that to ourselves, we start to feel coerced (even if it’s by ourselves) to change.  None of us like being coerced to change.  We don’t like feeling like we HAVE TO change.

We all like the ability to choose.  And as such, when we say, “I will” change, we start to feel forced.  We lose our autonomy, our personal choice to change and with that loss of autonomy, we lose, coincidentally, our will power.

So how can you keep that autonomy?

Instead of saying, “I Will,” ask yourself, “Will I?”  By turning our desire into a question, we keep our ability to choose.  We keep our ability to make a decision and then to act on that decision.

By keeping the decision’s autonomy, people are basically saying that they “were looking for a positive inspiration from within, rather than attempting to hold themselves to a rigid standard.”

So the next time you start to “force” yourself to live up to a standard and thereby, increasing your guilt, anxiety or shame, ask yourself a simple question and see if you can receive some positive inspiration.

The question to repeat to yourself, “Will I exercise?”

Obviously, I don’t know, as that’s your choice.  Have Fun!

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