The illusion of willpower

“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Yesterday, Ryan (our co-founder) and I were strolling through the super badass HQ of 1stPhorm – a wildly successful supplement, apparel, training, health and fitness company here in St. Louis.

And that came out of our buddy Nick’s mouth who was showing us around. He didn’t coin the phrase, but I love it.

I already re-quoted (is that a word?) to my son’s rolling eyes this morning when I found his dirty clothes and wet towel on the bathroom floor…again.

“Buddy, discipline is a muscle, and you need to exercise it. If you half-ass this, you’re going to half-ass school today. Soccer this weekend. And ultimately life.

How you do anything is how you do everything.”

The misconception I see so often amongst our Crew and the fitness world is…

Relying completely on willpower.

Yeah, I know we’ve been told that we need to be “mentally tough” to stick to a diet or fitness plan. And that all we need is willpower.

That’s total horse****. Success in fitness has to do with realistic goal-setting and healthy habit-building.

And discipline is a habit.

The more you exercise it. The more ingrained it becomes into you.

Here’s why relying on sheer will is super harmful:

It’s unreliable!

By definition, willpower means saying no to what you want to do. And saying yes to things you don’t want to do. That system is unpredictable and not constant over time.

Sometimes you “feel it”, sometimes you don’t. And sometimes it feels impossible to summon your willpower, especially when you’re tired, stressed, sick, or are in situations not aligned with your goals.

In other words, no one on the planet can have superhuman discipline and control every minute of every day. Willpower is no match for your diet when you spend a week at an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas for 10 days.

A torrential downpour is going to derail your scheduled walk. A fresh Krispy Kreme donut at work when you missed breakfast is going to taunt you until you give in.

Point is this: Depending on willpower alone won’t help you achieve your long-term fitness goals. And it’s a fool’s errand to even try. We’ve all tried. And we’ve all failed.

Instead, work on habit-building. Prioritize healthy, productive behaviors that rely on a set of habits, not willpower.

Here’s the best part…Once a habit (like discipline) is established, it takes a lot of energy to dislodge it.
You ever get caught in a weird schedule and forget to brush your teeth in the morning? It will ruin your day. You will go out at lunch and buy a new toothbrush and toothpaste.

I feel the same way about my morning walk. And that’s what I want for you.

You’ve got this,
Jeff Pelizzaro

PS – If you need help building habits that become non-negotiables in your daily life, we’ve got you covered.

You can join a group of like-minded golfers who want to create life-long habits to stay fit so we can play this great game for as long as the good lord will allow in the 18STRONG Membership.

See you on the inside.

Oh, and if you’re in the U.S., enjoy the long weekend!