Fitness (His Edition)
In our modern world, where the desire for instant gratification seems to overpower all common sense, many of us have become slaves to our impulses. This has unfortunately become the root cause of much of our inability to achieve our goals, or even find happiness and contentment in many instances.
Whether it’s our desire to have the latest car, gadget or shoes, which means we never seem to get ahead financially, or the impulse to constantly check social media, messages or the latest news, which detracts from our training time or from spending meaningful quality time with family and friends, we’re all worse off in some way because our lives are ruled by our weak will.
The fact of the matter is that motivation and willpower are finite mental resources, but just like anything else they can be trained and improved to become stronger and more resilient. Yet, despite the endless hours we dedicate to building our bodies or strengthening our physiology, we seldom, if ever, focus on training our minds. However, if we work on developing our mental fortitude by boosting our ability to endure and building our capacity, and even our willingness to suffer, we stand to unlock so much more of our innate potential.
Without these traits we’ll continue to live a life enslaved to our impulses; one where we’re not entirely in control of our actions because our impulses ultimately control us. What this means from a practical perspective is that we’re more likely to give in to that sugar craving at the first sign of temptation, or that we’re more prone to quitting when the impulse to stop rages inside our heads, be it in the gym, at a training session, or in a race out on the road or trail.
As such, it is only once we’ve unshackled ourselves from these mental restraints that we can forge on. With that in mind, in the next phase of your training, or in daily life, I suggest that you spend some time getting to grips with how you choose to respond to your impulses. They’re a natural response from the brain to certain stimuli and situations, and while not all impulses are bad (instinct is an important survival mechanism, for instance), it’s when we act on common impulses without thinking that we often set ourselves up for failure. For instance, work on resisting the urge to check your phone for the hundredth time as it is merely a distraction; when your brain urges you to have another helping of dessert, wait a moment before you react, then resist the urge. Wrest back control of your impulses and take charge of your actions. After that, translate your new-found mental fortitude into your physical realm. Work on getting comfortable with discomfort. Learn to endure through the pain of all-out efforts. Teach your mind to treat the impulse to stop with the apathy it deserves so that the next time you reach your limit you can break through it. Once you learn to dominate your mind and master your response to its impulsive nature, you’ll take a giant leap forward toward achieving your goals. This is because, if you didn’t know it already, the mind will give in long before the body ever will.