Many fitness trainers shy away from discussions on will power. It's a sensitive topic because clients can often feel defeated when their "will" is less powerful than they thought. BUT just as exercise can strengthen our muscles, cognitive reframing can strengthen our self-control. Whether you are trying to lose weight, get active, or simply be the healthiest YOU possible, try to shift perspective to increase your will power. It’s a great way to reshape the way you think, behave, and ultimately feel! It works.
What is reframing?
Psychologists often use reframing to generate a change in thought by looking at any given circumstance from a more positive (and equally realistic) angle. Is the glass half empty or half full? Both statements are true, so why not opt for the positive choice?
An easy way to apply this to will power is to start replacing the word "try" with the word "will." For instance, instead of saying "I can try to make it to the gym tomorrow." Tell yourself "I WILL make it to the gym tomorrow." You have then made a concrete statement that you can stick to. When we use the word "try" we are often giving ourselves an out, so we don't need to accept responsibility for our actions. By using the word "will" we make a concrete statement and feel powerful when we accomplish the task.
You can also use reframing to improve self-esteem which can, in turn, improve your will power. Sometimes we don’t realize that it’s our negative self image that is standing in the way of our goals. Instead of thinking, “I feel so fat today...” try “I am craving a work out today!” Try to notice the negative self-talk and reframe it into something positive.
At first it is a challenge to shift perspectives, but one thought at a time we can build an optimistic approach. Take breaks when you need to, and don't beat yourself up if your will power doesn't change over night. In time it will become easier to reframe any situation. If you need extra help reaching your weight loss or fitness goals, ask for it. See a therapist, hire a personal trainer, or both!