How many times have you looked at your goals – to get fit . . . to build a solid relationship with your kids . . . to grow your business – and felt dismayed?
How many have you looked at that distant destination and felt like you’ll never find it in yourself to get there.
You think: I’ll never have the will power.
I’ve struggled with this myself on numerous occasions. And I discovered something along the way –
You don’t need will power to get there.
You do need will power – but not to get to your goals. Here’s what I mean . . .
Let me tell you about Lewis Pugh . . .
Lewis Pugh is the first person to have swum in 5 different oceans. This includes swimming off the coast of Antarctica and in the Arctic Ocean.
In 2004, he took on the challenge of swimming 20 minutes in the Arctic, in water that was 29 degrees Fahrenheit. He was planning to spend 20 minutes swimming in water with ice floating around!
This kind of challenge must take extraordinary will power – how could anyone take on something like this without it?
But Lewis Pugh is experienced in this kind of endeavor and he knew that even though he had a powerful mind and could push himself to do all kinds of things – he couldn’t simply will himself to get to the end.
He did something different that was essential for his success.
He had his team place flags every 100 meters along his course.
And then instead of focusing on getting to the end of his course, he focused his will power on swimming 100 meters.
Will Power Is Not For Goals
According to Pugh, he would never have been able to complete the entire course if he just focused on the finish line. The agony of the cold waters would have been too much. His support team would have had to pull him out within 5 minutes of starting.
But by focusing his mind on getting to the first flag . . . and then the next flag . . . and then the next . . . he was able to do the impossible and swim for 20 minutes in the freezing arctic water.
To many of us, adopting healthier habits can feel like diving into arctic waters. Our blood freezes at the thought and there is no way you can envision yourself getting to that end result.
We get intimidated by the enormity of the task and think we’ll never have the fortitude to get there.
But if you break it down to small, manageable challenges that you take on each day, you can do it.
Thinking about the ending that’s so far off is incredibly discouraging. But by breaking it down into small goals, you also have a series of small triumphs set up. With each triumph you get fired up to get to the next one.
And before you know it you’re ten miles down the road at that finish line you thought you never could have gotten to.
So, you don’t need will power to get to your goals. Goals are for helping you keep a sense of direction and vision. Will power is what you use to achieve each step towards that vision.
In fact, by focusing your will on that long-term goal, you’re setting yourself up for defeat. You’ll feel like you can never get there, sapping yourself of will.
But tell me this – tell me one single thing you’ve done in your life by leaping from where you were straight over to that longed-for achievement.
Even getting breakfast in the morning requires you to get out of bed and walk step by step to the kitchen and step by step put breakfast together.
So stop agonizing about that big leap.
Take a goal and break it down into steps.
And then focus your mind on something you can reasonably accomplish – that first step . . . and then that other step . . . and then the next one.
Use your will power to take each step forward towards your goal. Not to get to your goal itself.
Have you struggled to get from here to there? Got goals your summoning up the courage to take on ? Come over and share your insights on Facebook
About Sarah Clachar And Fit Family Together
Since expecting their first child, Sarah and her husband Cassius have made fitness a core part of their family life. From biking to hiking . . . from the heart of New York City to a farm in New England, they have found a way to stay active together. And through all this exercising as a family they discovered that family fitness builds not only strong bodies – but stronger families.
A professional health writer with a BA in biology, gardener and foodie Sarah brings a wealth of expertise in nutrition and health. A personal trainer and inveterate tinkerer, Cassius brings innovation to making family fitness work.
Ready to make family fitness part of your family life? Take the Fit Family Together 7 Day Family Fitness Challenge and put your own family fitness plan together.