Determination, willpower and habit

Tuesday 29 December 2020 - Filed under Default

This year, I became a runner. A podcaster mentioned a pushup-pullup challenge in addition to his usual 6-mile daily runs. Inspired by the challenge I decided to pick up running, an activity that I had dismissed before as something for which I wasn’t cut out.

Quick update: still no action from the mole, those worms really seemed to work. Also, on YouTube I’ll be posting videos for these posts to my Always Be Learning channel. Hope you enjoy what’s to come!

At first I struggled with distance and pain and what’s generally described as “the suck”. As I took a walking break, I wondered what was so special about people who just didn’t walk but kept running. I decided to develop determination. During the next few days I started to formalize the idea: Running would be about mind over body.

When making tough improvements, the idea of willpower often comes up. Willpower is real and helpful and a very limited resource. Successful people conserve it by arranging their environment to support the desired change. A junk food example would be avoiding the snack aisle in Safeway so that options at home are limited when it counts. There’s not much I could do to conserve the willpower to run so just had to suck it up and keep at it.

Thankfully willpower becomes less necessary once practice becomes habit. Now with six months building the habit, it takes approximately zero willpower. Once I get up to get geared up the run is as good as done. I’m not going to back out when I’m outside putting my shoes on. There are so many benefits to running that barring injuries, it takes no more will than to stand up.

I wish I had more complete theory about about determination, habit, and willpower but for now I’ll just say that they all support one another. Get an idea. Commit enough to develop the habit and willpower can be held in reserve for another battle. There’s no such thing as sure thing, but it feels the only question from here (after building this video habit) is what change to make next?

2020-12-29  »  David Sterry