The Strength to Go On: How to Harness Your Willpower

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What’s going on Walk and Think Audience?

A here, and I haven’t posted in a few days.

No, haven’t been taking a vacation, as unproductive vacations are torture.

No I’m not out of ideas, and I am not unhealthy,

So… Why the lull? Two reasons.

#1. I am powering through the book Access all Areas by Ninj, so I can deliver a review, and some valuable pointers for you guys, just like I did with bob’s book. There have been a few changes to Urban Exploration, and the book is from 2005, and it’s 2016. There have been numerous technological improvements, which I will debate ninja’s advice on.

#2. I am developing the second platform for Walk and Think, for video content. The WaT YT channel is up and running, with four videos so far(check it out here). I have maintained a sharp eye on all Urban Exploration/Tunneling/Roofing videos coming out, and commented on dozens of them, to develop presence on that platform, and get an idea about who is who in the community.

There are only a handful of professionals out there.

So, with that being said, today we will discuss: Willpower.

And why I don’t believe in willpower marathons.

Willpower is like glue. It holds the right components together.

You cannot make a cabinet out of just glue. You need the wooden parts. Those wooden parts are lifestyle design and integration. They are life components you set up beforehand.

This is why over the top suicide-workout programs don’t work.

This is why people don’t usually change.

This is why crash diets don’t work.

One lifestyle choice I’ve made is bicycle commuting, read about it (here and here). I do not own a car. It’s not because I cannot buy one, or do not have a license. There is a different reason for that.

So what happens when the weather is terrible? High winds, rain, hail? What if I’m tired? Or sick?

I still cycle, because I have removed the alternative. The solid part is the bike; it’s what I have, so it’s what I use. The lifestyle design is not owning a car. Willpower is only needed to crank the pedals on the bad days.

But there is no other option, so that makes it all that much easier to stick with it. It’s more of a hassle to go to the dealer, than it is to tough it out, and finish the ride.

And it’s funny, but as soon as you finish the work, you feel great. You feel proud, and tough as nails.

When you’re in a bad mood, and feeling unmotivated, or low on willpower, just remind yourself about the why.

Take the logical view, about why, you are doing what you’re doing.

If there are clear benefits, then it’s easier to power through. If there are detriments, it may be time to change things.

Willpower is like a boost. Something like NOS in those street racing movies. You need to harness willpower at the optimum, decision-making point.

For example, when you’re running, say 6 laps for time. The first two are usually fairly easy, as you’re fresh and cruising. Third lap is usually fine/ok. Now the 4th and 5th laps, is where you will encounter the mental battle.

Somewhere, during that 4th or 5th lap you will either slow down or continue on, depending on your willpower.

If you timed it just right, 5th lap will be terrible, but you won’t slow, and the final lap will be all out, especially the 2nd half, or the “kick”. This will give you a negative split, and a fast time, but if, and only if, you harness willpower during the 4th and 5th laps.

Read more on distance running (here and here)

Or, another example is when you are shopping for a new item. You can harness willpower and not buy things you don’t need, right at that pivotal decision point.

You’ll notice the metal battle, during that moment. I was recently in the market for a new cellular phone. I went to a few stores, and definitely felt the desire to buy something new and shiny.

In the end, the math didn’t add up, and those new toys were not worth it, in the long term. Buying a new phone did not fit into my life vision. I simply had to figure out how to optimize my current phone.

So, you cannot rely on willpower always, especially if your habits and life building blocks are not there.

Building blocks, like where you choose to live.

If my living location was too far from groceries, cycling would have been unrealistic. I wouldn’t want to do more than 10 miles occasionally, and would prefer 4-6 miles.

So, currently, the grocery store is 1.7 miles, and another one is 3.5 miles. Totally doable, willpower has nothing to do with it.

Also, you have to be willing to stick it out, with things. Sometimes, once you get past the learning curve, thing become much easier and ever fun.

Like finally enjoying distance running. So, the length of time to remove any learning curve, difficulty, grind, and any romantic feelings towards a sport or new purchase is:

One year.

That’s it. One year.

That’s when you decide whether to continue something, or quit, or improve your means of doing it. This applies to working out especially. Do it for a year. Even if it’s a simple calisthenics routine.

People are out there looking for the newest, craziest, muscle-confusion, cross-training, super-mega ripped routine, and in the end, do nothing, CONSISTENTLY.

After riding for one year, I bought a slightly better bicycle. Year two, some better lights and better shorts. The 3rd year, clipless pedals. Take your time.

Small improvements over time.

Want to work with the barbell? Cool. Stick with it for a year, and then see your results. Anything under a year is too short, to be able to truly tell the pro’s and con’s.

Unless something is causing you injury, you should stick it out for a year.

It goes like this:

Life Vision->Life Design->Life Habits->Strength to Go on/Willpower.

Notice that willpower is at the very end of the chain, you don’t start there.

Step one: Life Vision

You start with a Life Vision. Sit down and imagine your perfect day. Really clarify what it is you want. Get real with yourself. I had to really stop pretending to want the things that are popular to want, and find out what I actually want, without outside examples/opinions.

This took years and is still a work in progress for me. Once you’ve got a good idea, a bearing to travel towards, this step is complete.

Step two: Life design.

This is hard, as it means moving, changing jobs, cutting out bad people… But to help, you can use the malleable periods. I honestly had to trick myself into an overhaul, to get out of a negative environment, physically and mentally.

I went real minimal, and eventually moved several times, lost and gained friends. All to design my life the way I wanted it to be.

Step Three: Habits

Once you have the big parts in place, time to begin to forming habits. Consciously form them, choose them. Conduct objective review (aka journaling) of what works, and what bring you closer to your life vision. (Optimize your time as well, as covered here).

Hint: use the two R’s to optimize your time and energy.

1. Remove: The time wasters and Debbie-downer people, all the unnecessary fluff and tasks, cut it down to the essentials.

2. Routine: set up a flow of events to carry out, daily, until it becomes an easy, familiar routine.

Step four: Willpower

The final step is to continue your habits and lifestyle when you are going through a difficult phase. This is what willpower is for. To tough it out, and do it anyway.

To just do it, and accept that it may not be fun or easy. Running through fatigue. Cycling against strong wind. Lifting when you are not mentally there.

Just do it anyway. Just show up. Do the work. That’s it. Do the work.

If you are not on the way to where you want to be, examine one of the four areas above. Also remember: The work never ends… You never “Arrive”.

There are victories and losses along the way, but there is not final point.

Just make sure you are moving in the right direction for your self-actualization and fulfillment.

And so it goes:

Life Vision->Life Design->Life Habits->Strength to Go on/Willpower->Progress

Examine the building blocks talked about here as well, to reach your peak.

That about sums it up for tonight, my friends. Feel free to leave a comment below,

Check out the books I’m reading/daily music on the sidebar,

And of course, the up and coming YT WaT Army channel,

Until Next Time, and

All the Best.

-A

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