Willpower and Discipline in Short Supply? Try some of these…

Willpower and Discipline in Short Supply? Try some of these…

Author: Ayo Williams

Assumptions are made about you if you are a fitness professional. People assume that I eat without thought or planning because 'I'll just burn it off'. Not true. People assume that there's no way I have an over-fondness for Guinness and all-year-round mince pies. Definitely not true. People nearly always assume that I have consistent willpower and am super-disciplined regarding healthy eating and exercise. Not in the slightest. 

Of course, it doesn't matter what's assumed, except if that assumption is based on a falsehood which subconsciously acts as a barrier on the journey to improve your own health and fitness. Believing that 'willpower' is a prerequisite for success is one of those barriers! Here's why 'Motivation' and 'Discipline', and by extension, 'Willpower' are so highly overrated.

Willpower is always at its highest when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and when everything is rosy in the world. How often is this the case...? Exactly. Never! Instead why not shift your focus to a few things which will build up that consistency, regardless of what life throws at you? All of these tips are aimed at 'shaping the path', or in other words, making it easier for you to make a better decision for your goal 'in the moment'.

  • Write down your goal, or your 'reason why' you'd like to achieve what you set out to do. Put it where you can see it. This sounds obvious, but a visual reminder really does help trigger action.

  • Plan your day and track/note how you spend your time, and how closely your actual day matches your plan. This seems time consuming and restrictive -- it needn't be, and a little time spent on this exercise can be genuinely enlightening. Even if at first your actual plan for the day is regularly torpedoed, you will soon spot patterns... and solutions to where you can make positive changes will suggest themselves

  • Do you use a calendar, digital or otherwise? Put the thing that you'd normally need willpower for in there and set an alarm for it/circle with a highlighter. Whether it's meal-preparation, exercise, meditation or something else, if you wait until you "feel like it", some days it just won't happen. Get it in the schedule to increase your chances of getting it done.

  • Regarding meal preparation and healthy snacks, keep fresh, whole foods and nibbles where you can see them! And on the flip-side, ensure that those things that make you feel sluggish or move you further away from your goal are less readily available. Or, at the very least, put them somewhere out of sight. As always, we're trying to do a little better in any given area... "progress, not perfection" is the aim.

  • Identify the 'productivity' drains in your day. If you know that there's a little too much of an activity which is fun but can sap more time than planned, get ahead of it. Own it. Take control! Decide to watch 2 episodes of an evening rather than 3... or set a timer for scrolling that social media feed.

All of these suggestions are an attempt to encourage the building of new systems in your day and week, which will eventually become positive habits. The goal is to do short, simple 'slightly better' things which are no hardship, which over time become fixtures in your day. The results can be powerful, satisfying and far more long lasting than when relying on 'willpower' alone. It's important to be honest about what your situation in this moment will allow though, and set expectations accordingly:

  • What's really important to you right now?
  • What's worked for you in the past?
  • What can you do TODAY to get you moving in the right direction?

Honest answers to these questions can set great foundations for solid improvements. Forget 'Willpower'. Switch your focus to creating systems and eventually automatic habits which endure, no matter what life throws at you. No-one stopped brushing their teeth because of the pandemic.

BMF Digital by BMF Human Performance is a digital health and fitness service for Be Military Fit franchise members. As a holder of a BMF monthly subscription you have access to this platform. To access the platform please use the same login details used to login to your BMF membership services.

If you require support logging into your account please contact your franchise owner.

If you make changes to your membership login details please allow up to 30 minutes to access BMF Digital.

Pay per session or block booking sessions do not receive access to BMF Digital.