MISS DEMEANOR- Willpower, The Not So Invisible Force

MISS DEMEANOR
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Willpower- The Not so Invisible Force


 

It calls to you like a sweet lullaby, lurking beneath the pasta and cereal, but you remind yourself not to give into the temptation. Regardless, your hand reaches for it anyway; without the consent of your brain. Just as your finger-tips touch the plastic wrapper of the last chocolate bar in the cupboard, your brain finally takes hold and snaps your hand back into your jean pocket. What is this invisible force that has hastily retracted your hand from indulging in sweet surrender?

That force is called willpower. It comes in many different strategies and many different forces, yet sometimes it does not even come at all. Sometimes when we are in need of it most, the will-power to not do something is nowhere to be found.

There are many people who feel that willpower has a mind of its own, but in reality we are the ones who hold the neck of it. We are the ones who steer it in the right direction and steer it in the wrong direction. There are plenty of us out there that have enormous amounts of willpower, but believe that we have none. This is because willpower can very easily be wrongly directed. Often times, people believe that they could improve their lives if only they had a little more of that willower we all have instilled within us. The truth is that willpower is not
as invisible as we think. It lives within us, waiting to be utilized in the healthiest way. It would be easier if it went dormant for decisions that do not benefit us, but that is not the
case. The key to willpower is using it for the right things and sometimes this process takes people years, but it does not have to be that way.

Personally, I struggle with the willpower to make the right decisions every day of my life. There is not an hour that goes by throughout my day when I do not reference the back of my brain and ask my willpower a couple of questions. The problem for me is not whether or not I have willpower. I know I have the willpower and I know that the willpower that I have is not weak. I struggle with steering it in directions that are best for me. There are many times when I take a situation and pick it apart to pieces, looking at the positives and the negatives, sometimes for hours. I contemplate what the right decision is and by the end of the day I know what the right
decision is. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Knowing the right decision and then just to do it! However, that is nearly ever the case. The right thing to do is usually the hardest and often times, I lean towards the opposite direction. It is my willpower that then hits me in the face, spins me around and shoves me towards the route that my mind knows is best.

As a young woman, I am faced with challenges each day and I am persuaded into following the wrong path. For years, I let my heart hold me by the neck and override what I knew was the best
thing to do. Whether the decision was staying in a friendship that was unhealthy or a relationship that was damaging, there was always something that my heart and my head were fighting about. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far in life, it is that barely ever do my heart and my head agree. What my heart wants, my brain often knows better. Life is a constant battle between emotion and reason. If we can find a way to let our willpower settle
this ongoing battle between the two, only then may we find peace. I believe that, with practice and a little bit of willpower, that battle can come to an agreement. It won’t be without a little blood, sweat, and tears, but it will be worth it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have no control over your mind, body and soul.

By no means do I have the whole process figured out, but that’s what makes life so interesting. The fight is what we get up for in the morning. The human body is capable of experiencing so many
different things, so many great things and so many terrible things. Life can truly be so incred-ibly intriguing and beautiful if it is utilized in the right way. That energy that pushes a person to run the last mile of a triathlon or the force that drives a person to pluck the strings of a guitar is the same energy that creates the burning sensation on your lips when you kiss a lover or that crippling sensation that pulses through your veins when you lose a friend. Those are the things that true willpower thrives on and will grasp onto. If you believe in
yourself and have faith that you are capable of achieving your goals, true willpower will follow.

It is funny how many people believe that willpower is this invisible, mysterious force that science cannot define. Willpower is defined by what you make of it. You can use it to stick a needle in your arm through beat up veins and bruises or you can use it to write the last page of a midterm exam. Willpower is not so much invisible, but more so waiting for you to sculpt it into what you want it to be. Life is what you make it. So is your determination, ambition and willpower. Make the right decisions and do what is best for you in your life. Other people can
help you find where to channel that energy, but at the end of the day it is up to you and no one else. When you’re lying in bed at night thinking about everything in your life, remember that you are in control of a lot more of it then you think.

~ Alexandra Costa
Allie Costa
Alexandra was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and moved to Scottsdale, AZ with her family in 2002. She is currently pursuing her college degree in English and Psychology.

Willpower: Practice Makes Perfect

Willpower: Practice Makes Perfect
By Dan Ronin

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I remember one night long ago. I was in my back yard practicing Iaido (Japanese sword form) and having difficulty with how the cut ended. No matter how many times I practiced the cut the end was less than satisfactory. My practice finished with me feeling despondent about my ability. It made me question whether or not I had it in me to be a competent Martial artist and if I was wasting time that could be better spent doing something else.

The following nights I continued to practice again and again and again. After doubting myself I decided that it was the practice that made me a martial artist, not my ability. If I continued to practice the only thing that could happen is that I would improve. But why? Why not. Who cares? No one. What difference does it make? Not a thing, except to me.

Ask any athlete, martial artist, artist or anyone who really specializes in something, how they became as good as they are at what they do and you will probably hear, practice. That is generally speaking not what most people want to hear. More than that, it is very difficult to dedicate yourself to regular practice sessions.

You really have to find whatever it is inside of you that will constantly renew and restore your interest in what you are practicing so that you don’t quit. It seems that in today’s world if we can’t become an expert in 20 minutes it isn’t worth it so we give up. Some people are fortunate enough to have a natural ability toward something. The rest of us have to try harder!

One of the most important lessons I have learned is the lesson of perseverance. No matter what happens in life we have the power in ourselves to overcome the hardships and adversities placed before us if we simply carry on. Quitting or giving up is the polar opposite of willpower. Willpower is the well you draw from to help overcome adversity. You are correct in your beliefs no matter what you believe. By that I mean; If you don’t think you can do something, you are right! If you think the task is too hard or the distance too far, it is! However the opposite is not only true but more powerful then most people can imagine. You can never give 110%, the math is bad. You can give 100% though and I challenge you to.

Next time you are doing something you may not be fully into, try giving it 100% and see if it makes a difference. Through the power of your will you can accomplish anything you put yourself 100% into. It starts by setting a goal and seeing yourself accomplishing that goal. Once you set a goal and do something everyday towards that goal you will reach it guaranteed. However there is more than that. Once you learn the strength of your will you can direct it where it is needed. If you truly want to meet someone, go to a certain college or work for a certain company it will happen. Beyond that once you fully understand your potential you will realize that there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you apply yourself. In addition if your will is strong no one can coerce you into doing something you don’t want to! Learn to harness your willpower and your life will change forever!
-Dan Ronin
RoninDan

Dan Ronin has trained in the martial arts for over 30 years. He is a combat veteran who served as a Military Police Investigtor in the Army for 8 1/2 years. Dan offers classes in Counter-Attack self defense for open hands and weaponry, as well as disaster/emergency preparedness.

Contact Dan at dan@roinproducts.com or 602-373-9630

Ask The Trainer- Holiday Willpower & Dieting

Ask The Trainer- Holiday Willpower & Dieting
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How many of you have ever wished for more hours in the day? I think most of us at one time or another have felt the pressure of too much to do and too little time. There are only 24 hours in each day. What if you could use all 24 . . . every single day? Just think about how much more you could accomplish! Of course, you have to train yourself to function without any sleep. You have to eliminate that wasteful use of 8 hours each day. One third of your day . . . unnecessarily spent with your eyes closed.

What? You don’t think you can do that? You don’t think it’s healthy or the right thing to do? Well, how else are you going to achieve your goal of getting more accomplished in your 24 hour day? Just decide you are going to do it and summon up every ounce of willpower you can muster!

Of course, we all know how the above scenario will turn out. Your willpower may get you through one day without sleep, but the true needs of your body will soon take over and you will fall asleep. And it was NOT the fault of a wimpy willpower!!! In fact, it had nothing to do with your willpower whatsoever.

The definition of “will” is “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.” Willpower, then, would be the control of that decision making process. Obviously, the main emphasis in that definition would be on the word, “control.” And herein lies the answer to the universal complaint of all dieters: “I just didn’t have the willpower to continue.” “I fell off of the truck. It’s all my fault.”

Let me make it very clear right here that I strongly believe in personal responsibility. One needs to understand that actions have consequences and we reap what we sow. That being said, however, we need to examine the control factor with willpower and diets.

Most diets are designed with deprivation in mind. The HCG diet, for example, is built on severe calorie deprivation where the dieter must eat only 500 calories each day. Since most adult basal metabolic rates (BMR) are above 1200 calories, this is destined to fail. Your BMR tells you the amount of energy (calories) your body NEEDS just to function. That means sitting on the couch all day, breathing, but not moving. So if you are providing your body less than half of what it needs to function, what do you think will be the result? Do you think your body, which desperately wants to survive, knows that you are simply trying to make your gut smaller by consuming only 500 calories? NO!! Your body knows that in order to keep functioning, it
MUST find nourishment quickly. So it sends the appropriate hormonal cascade into action that signals hunger. Starvation, in fact. Ignoring that signal becomes impossible. It has nothing to do with your decision to lose weight. It has everything to do with the control of the hormones and the central nervous system that environment.is hard-wired for survival. It is not the dieter’s “fault” that they “fell off of the truck.” The fault lies with the diet that is completely counter to supporting the body
in a healthy way.

Think back to my ludicrous suggestion that you could “will” yourself to stay awake 24/7, without any sleep. You, of course, rejected that idea as a valid solution to getting more done each day. You knew that not getting sleep is harmful to your body and to your productivity levels. The only ending to that scenario is one in which the body takes over and controls the situation. Your willpower means nothing at that point, right?

So why do we insist on diets that are just as ludicrous, just as harmful to our bodies . . . and believe that we can “will” them to work for us? Restricting calories severely, eliminating an essential food group, or even excessive exercising in order to “purge” are all misinformed ways to approach weight and fat loss. They are destined to fail and will not provide the long term result of a healthy body that really is what we are all seeking when we go on a diet.

Consider my opening example again. What would be a better approach to accomplishing more in each day? We might focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness throughout the day instead of just adding hours. Who is in control in that situation? We are. We can decide to write a chapter in our new book instead of watching that mediocre sitcom on TV. We can meet by webinar at work instead of traveling to each different location. Making choices and utilizing our decisions to “initiate actions” give us the opportunity to work on our willpower because control is appropriately ours to exercise in each situation.

Now translate this same idea to losing weight. What is in your power to control? How can you use your willpower to help? Instead of working against your body by depriving it of certain macronutrients and consuming too little, work with your body to help it function at a higher metabolic rate and encourage it to release its stores of fat. When you eat quality ingredients and include a lean protein, a complex carbohydrate and a good fat with every meal, you send a signal to your body that it can have confidence it will receive what it needs and it won’t starve. In an atmosphere of abundance, your body will willingly release fat and not feel the need to store more. You can then use your willpower to focus on eating quality and not giving in to overly processed, sugar-filled, non-nutritive food. And your body will support you in this pursuit instead of taking over control because it feels threatened. There is no need to “fall off of the truck” because you, your willpower and your body are all working towards the same goal of being healthy !

Read the original in our Holiday issue; http://joom.ag/rZkb

Email your fitness questions to Dianne at: DBailey@TheConditioningClassroom.com
Diane Bailey
Dianne Bailey pic
Dianne has been providing professional weight management and sports conditioning training for individuals since 2002 and opened The Conditioning Classroom, a private personal training studio, in 2006.