Standing in front of the mirror, the slow-growing bulge of my stomach caught my eye, as it seems to more often these days. The usual reflexive thought sprung to mind;
If only I had willpower. The willpower to stop drinking chocolate milk and stop shovelling whatever other edible items are contributing to its growth, into my mouth.
But is the concept of willpower in itself something that contributes to using it as an excuse? While the idea of willpower seems positive, it’s rarely used that way. It often becomes the buffer between what I should be doing and why I’m not doing it. Willpower has simply given me a channel to deflect blame.
“Oh, I’m just going to scoff down that triple-choc coated peanut butter biscuit cake…. because I have no willpower. Ha ha ha, willpower, you evil thing. Mmm this tastes good…. damn you willpower!”
In the case of food, there’s me, and there’s the goal of eating well. The more ideas, concepts, reasons, and excuses I jam in between those two things, the less likely it is that they’ll meet. Since my last mirror moment I’ve had a good think, not just about willpower, but anything in my life I’d like to change, but for whatever excuse haven’t done so yet.
So here’s a new technique I’m gong to try in the next few weeks. As for most things I write about, I’m making this up as I go and hopefully I can report back in a few months as to whether it works (or should I say, ‘how well it worked!’).
Achieving goals often comes down to a mix of emotion, motivation, psychology, planning and so on. But do we sometimes make goal-setting too complicated? And in a way that it makes it easier to fail?
I’m going to look at my goals physically, and only physically. Can I physically do it? Yes. Are there physical barriers stopping me from achieving my goal? No.
Then do it.
The closer you can move two things together, the more likely it is to happen. How many things are physically out of reach? My two biggest goal-achieving-struggles revolve around not eating properly, and not exercising enough.
I have a bicycle in the garage. The garage is barely 20 metres from where I’m typing this. A fantastic bike path exists less than a kilometre away. Physically, there is NOTHING stopping me from jumping on the bike and pushing those pedals around and around.
Yeah but it’s raining… So? As a kid, I’d spend hours kicking water around in a puddle, or playing mud football, and now I’m suddenly worried about getting a bit wet? I’m only 33. No, of course I’m not worried about a little water, but geez it makes for a convenient excuse.
It’s starting to get dark. So? Why can’t I ride for ten minutes around the block? I don’t have to imitate the Tour De France and ride the length of the Pyrenees.
Now, if I had a physical injury, fair enough. Physically something would be in the way. In that case, I’d turn to the next exercise-related goal (e.g. doing a set of push-ups each morning), and get to it. My body doesn’t function the way it did when I was 20, so I’m getting used to certain injuries and ailments. I can easily come up with 10 different exercises to account for any injuries that might pop up (I do play soccer on a Saturday, so injuries can occur).
What about my food excuses?
I can’t be bothered cooking… So? Go to the supermarket and buy something healthy. In this day and age, the supermarket is stocked with healthy options for us mortals that have no hope of appearing on Masterchef. There is PHYSICALLY nothing stopping me from doing this. If I’m driving to get takeaway food, there’s no difference, maybe a few kilometres at most. I’m someone who doesn’t mind driving so there’s definitely no excuse here.
I don’t know what healthy stuff I can buy…. Yeah, but…. Yeah, but… Let’s face it. These excuses are ALL just jibber-jabber to convince myself that a Big Mac is the logical, and only choice for dinner. And you simply can’t have a Big Mac without fries and a chocolate thickshake.
Enough with the excuses and nonsense. I’m refusing to cave in to this idea that I have terrible willpower as I’ve decided I don’t like the concept of willpower. Either I do something, or I don’t. There’s no reason to deflect the blame onto willpower, pretending it’s an external force that is completely out of my control – because it’s not.
Let me know your thoughts! Are you struggling to reach your goals? Are there any physical barriers? If not, what barriers do exist?