Harnessing your Willpower

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16 Sep 2014

health fi

When you want to make a change and improve your healthy habits, it’s relatively easy to access the “how to” information to make those changes. I sit with people day after day who want information about how to start exercising, how to lose weight, how to eat right, how to lower their blood sugar and cholesterol levels and how to lower blood pressure and feel more energetic.

But taking information and turning it into a new way of life that will bring the desired results is another story. For most people, making dietary changes is the hardest part of this equation. And often it means eliminating foods from the diet that were previously a vital part of your eating—foods that you might really enjoy eating even though they are causing your health issues. So although it may sound like the simplest thing just to NOT eat something, for many people it is often an impossible and daunting task. It means changing a behavior that is very ingrained and battling your sabotaging thoughts (Yetzer Hara)—no easy task. So this becomes a time for many people to invoke willpower.

Willpower is the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions or the strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes or plans. How do I harness this in order to succeed in changing poor habits into good behaviors? The American Psychological Association calls willpower “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” Once you look at willpower as taking a positive action, then we can look at 5 things that Joy Manning brings us via WebMD. Here’s what she says:

1. Your willpower is like a piggy bank

Just like dollars in your bank account, your willpower is in limited supply. On any given day, you should budget your willpower so you have it when it counts. For example, if you plan to hit the gym after work, pack a lunch. You may not have the wherewithal to resist pizza for lunch and also work out on your way home. One thing can lead to another — in a good way. One of the best things about willpower, according to Marina Chaparro, RD, is that growing self-control in one area of your life leads to other positive changes. “It changes the way you think. Once someone gets back to the gym, they may also start eating better,” Chaparro says.

2. Your willpower is like a muscle

“Many people think you’re either born with willpower or you’re not,” Chaparro says. “But that’s not true. It’s actually like a muscle you can strengthen over time.” You work out your willpower a little differently than you exercise your abs, but both routines require doing it over and over. Setting small, incremental goals that you regularly meet is the best way to boost your willpower. Much like with your body, if you overdo it by taking on a bigger challenge than you’re ready for, you won’t get stronger. You’ll just be sore.



Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a BEHAVIORAL CHANGE and WELLNESS COACH with over 19 years of professional experience. Alan is the creator and director of the “10 Weeks to Health” program for weight loss. He is available for private coaching sessions, consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs both in his office and by telephone and skype. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at alan@alanfitness.com Check out the his web site –www.alanfitness.com US Line: 516-568-5027.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.