Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Willpower


I think what I hear the most from people is "you have a lot of will power". It's true, I do. I am also stubborn and when I decide to do something, don't get in my way.

Like anyone else though, my will power sometimes falters or seems to get the better of me. Recently I wrote about a book I have been enjoying called Winning Ways: How to succeed in the gym and out.

Story 25 is called Willpower Workout and has a great deal of wonderful information, but I like these seven steps on how to bolster your willpower, with #7 being my absolute favorite!

1) Set a goal: You have to know where you're going if you want to increase your chances of getting there. If the idea of committing to a goal is too frightening, remember that you're not signing up for life. Try, for example, sticking with a specific program for a six-week cycle.

2) Put on blinders once you’ve chosen your goal; otherwise you might be led astray by all sorts of distractions you meet along the way. Let’s face it, if you ask 10 different people how to approach your training, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Cut down on the distractions once you’ve charted your course of action.

3) Believe in yourself and your ability to reach your goals. No matter what cycle you train on, which mental rehearsal program you choose, or how tiny you make your progressions, you will never improve continuously for long periods of time. In the times of slow gains, or outright reversals, it’s easy to throw in the towel, but if you believe in yourself, you’ll stick with it until you start gaining again.

4) Deal with problems directly, and remember that a partial victory is always far better that a complete surrender. If, for example, you’re having an off day and can’t make your planned weights, cut the intensity and boost the volume. You can always salvage some of the victory from what might have been a dud workout, and that’s what you need to do. Don’t just head home.

5) Make haste slowly because, except for special conditions, the matters of gaining size and strength take hard work over a long period of time. When you get impatient, you only increase your opportunities to get frustrated, and frustration will chip away at your willpower until there’s nothing left.

6) Remind yourself of what is going right, because plenty will be. Guard against the tendency to chew yourself out when things go south. Did you ever see someone make four weeks of steady progress before missing a lift then rip himself to shreds? Seek opportunities to reinforce yourself for the things that are still staying on track.

7) Enjoy getting there or rethink what you’re doing because you’re probably going to spend a lot more time in the process of arriving than you will as the finished product. Get to like what you’re doing instead of thinking about some light at the end of the tunnel.