“I will” is a powerful behavioral statement of action that leads towards a desired outcome. I will workout for 30 minutes. I will eat better. I will make healthier choices. Sometimes though, the will is not enough to get you through challenging times. When your will is weakened by distractions, doubt creeps in, turning your strong will into a weak question that ultimately leads to defeat and disappointment. Will I ever lose weight? Will I have time to workout today? When will I see results? Will I get my body back?
Your will alone is not sufficient to carry the burden of changing your lifestyle…yet! I want to introduce you to a technique I've used with several of my athletes when their drive and determination started to wane. I call this technique ABC-YA! It's a brief checklist to help me stay grounded, in the moment, and focused to strengthen my will to persevere.
Let’s use lifting heavy grocery bags up a flight of stairs as an example.
Awareness - Be in the moment, focused on the one task in front of you. For example, there are groceries that need to be put away upstairs, and you're the only one who can do it. Acknowledge that it will be challenging and that you will be okay.Breath - Breath is fuel for your muscles when used in a controlled manner. Forcefully exhaling on exertion makes movement easier. For this example, with every step up, breathe out. You can also use this technique when lifting weights; exhale on exertion. When running, find your step to breath ratio by breathing out for a couple of steps, and then breathe in for a few. It takes a couple of minutes to find your ratio, but keep trying. Next time you go for a run/walk, look for your step to breath ratio, and be more aware of your breathing pattern.Cooperate - Your will is associated with your mindset. Your body is attached to your emotional state. When it comes to accomplishing a task, your body and mind have to be in sync especially when you’re working out. The communication between your mind and body is your breath. If breathing is out of sync, the body begins to feel anxious and movement becomes sloppy and spasmic. For our example, decide that with each stair I will breathe out and advance up. The mind and body are working together to accomplish this task, not just your will.You - Now that we are aware of our situation, our mind and body are now in sync via coordinated, controlled breath. It's time to strengthen our will with an affirmation statement beginning with "You" describing self. You can do this! You are more than a conqueror. Whatever you choose, it's the right affirmation for you at that specific time. "You can get these groceries upstairs one step at a time"Act - Action satisfies the will and strengthens the connection to your mind and body because it’s a movement towards your desired outcome. If you want to accomplish something, you have to literally act on it and take steps to reach your goal.
Now, go up those stairs one step at a time and put those groceries away. Your will gets stronger with every task you complete. Continue to strengthen your will by way of being accountable and in the moment. I’ll ABC-YA next time!
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