The Stunning Power of Will and Determination

Will and determination are what get us through our goals, and I don’t mean our friend Will who is a network engineer. Our bodies and our minds are capable of actions and processes we are not even aware of yet. One year ago, if you told me I would be down almost 100 lbs. I would think you were crazy, how could I possibly even get to that point? The goal is daunting, and I never said, “I want to lose 100 lbs.,” I just knew I needed to get out of the rut I was in. 

Will and determination are nothing without it’s faithful sidekick : goals and habits. You need to be able to start somewhere, and like I have said over and over again : small and achievable goals will get you where you need to be. The scale is up to you, and you can certainly make longer term goals, but focus on the here, the now, and the today. Once you set your goals – Lose 5 lbs., run a mile, join a zumba class : STICK TO IT. Do not overburden yourself with losing 50 lbs, running a half marathon, or doing zumba everyday – you will fail, undoubtedly (except for you 5% of the population). 

Once your goals are in place (the easy part), it is all up to your will. I saw a great quote a few days ago : “Never be upset by the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.” I can’t echo this enough. I remember during the first 6 months of my transformation, I lost about 28 lbs. Not the worst number, I was going in the right direction, but it was nowhere near where I needed or wanted to be at that time. Then, I let my body take over, I let my thoughts fall wayside, and I started making bigger changes in my life. Some might say that the changes I made were drastic, but I was on winter break with nothing to lose, and I lost 10 lbs between the beginning of December and the end of January – 1/3 of my entire 6 month loss. 

Where do you get it? Shaun T would say dig deep, which is true, but feels intangible. Steve Kamb from Nerdfitness once said, “No one believes your excuses, but you.” So, at the end of the day, if you feel good about yourself, you feel healthy, loved (and love yourself, which is way more important), feel good about going about your day, then you may not find the determination to achieve these goals. Like many things in life, the key to change is dissonance – If you are going about your day, routine-style, and you do not see the bigger picture of [your weight], [your crappy job], [your unhealthy relationship], etc., then how or why would you change those things in your life?

I’m not saying, “Be unhappy before a change occurs,” but I am saying that to muster the motivation, inspiration, determination and all the other -ation nouns that you will need to succeed, you have to evaluate where you are coming from. No one will believe your excuses except for you because, at the end of the day, it is you whom you are trying to prove your change or INTENTION to change to. 

[Side Rant] – Sometimes people do not like a rant in a blog, if this is you, turn your gaze. I will try to keep things positive for the most part, this is one of those other times. If you have a friend who is going through a transformation, there is nothing more unnerving then the “OMG, you look so good, i’m starting on myself soon.” WAIT FOR IT… Oh, it never happens because what we say aloud does not give us will, determination„ motivation, inspiration, or belief from others that a change will occur. The journey is not easy, changing your entire life habits for 20+ years is not easy, and minimizing the work that that person has done by saying you are starting soon, does no one good.  If you are the person starting soon, I realize you want this, but these changes do not happen overnight, so hit reset, go back up a bit, and create your list of goals, and start small. I do believe you want to make this change, and I want you to as well, but, as they say, talk is cheap. If you are the transformed friend, invite this person to a workout, a run, a fitness class, whatever it is. This will suss out the talkers from the ones that really do want to make a change. Anyone is capable of it, you have to want it more than a words worth though. 

[/Side Rant]

I never actually told you where to get this will and determination — first of all, Shaun T is right, you do have to dig deeper – you have to realize that these changes will not be easy,  you have to align your thoughts with the goal, and be unwavering when things to get too tough, and they will because we won’t make changes unless we take ourselves to our limits and back again. 

Everyone finds this in different places. 

STEP 1 — INSPIRATION FOLLOWED BY MOTIVATION

Vanity – There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good. We talk down about vanity in our society, but vanity is on a reflection of our internal mechanisms. Of course, this varies based on culture and place, but looking good is not a bad thing. I care way more about what I am wearing, how I am looking, and I have a heightened sense of my surroundings. You could say this is a bad thing, to focus on things that seem trivial and serve no purpose, but confidence does serve a purpose, and vanity is tied to it. Plus, who doesn’t want to look sexy on date night?

Confidence – The better you feel about yourself, your weight, your ability, the more you can conquer tomorrow and the day after. Confidence is like a staircase, once you go up a step, you are able to advance to the next step, do not try to take three steps at a time because you might fall (literally if you are hiking). I could have never started insanity 4 months ago – physically for sure, but I know I would have cowered at the thought of the workout. When we set our goals and accomplish them, we can realize that the goals we did not know we had will push forth. Also, confidence in social situations. I feel way more at ease, even having my bouts with social anxiety, around other people. I don’t feel as judged by others, I feel like I am not an outsider based on my weight anymore. You may not, and I am glad you were able to find that space, I never was able to. Whatever it may be, you will gain confidence to do more in and with your life. 

These are rather large concepts for inspiration, but inspiration can be found all around. 

  • A friend who has lost a lot of weight
  • Fitting into your old jeans 
  • Avoiding diabetes, heart conditions, and other negative affects
  • Having a bigger goal like : Climb Mt. Everest – you have to start somewhere

Whatever it is, unless you have an inspiration of WHY you want to make the change – there is no fuel to your determination. 

Inspiration is useless without motivation though. If what you look to as inspiration does not get you to get up and go, it isn’t working, motivation works in motion, it is active, inspiration is only step one. Get your mind there, then get your body there, then …

STEP 2 – DO IT

Set a reminder, get up earlier, ditch the excuses. You don’t have time? I worked 60+ (sometimes 80) hours a week this summer, and although I didn’t get all the workouts I wanted in, every single Tuesday was fitness skate for me (minus the one 18 hour workday I had). Even if I couldn’t get to the gym (as it closes at ridiculous hours during the summer), I knew Tuesday was a good 2 hour workout. I made a committment to run at least once a week. Before I was doing a lot more, but I did not want to over burden my goals, so when the temperature dropped, I threw on my shoes and ran at least 3 miles. One night I even did 10 miles – WHY NOT. If Michelle Obama has time to work out for a 1/2 hour every day, you have 20 minutes to do so as well. Will it suck? Yes! Will you Want to? NO. You have to turn that voice off, turn on the autopilot and JUST DO IT – there is a reason Nike has their motto. 

Will and Determination comes from within, so I cannot very well tell you where it comes from, how to get it, and if you will find it. It took me 1 failed year in 2009 (lost 12 lbs, then gained back a heck of a lot more), and 6 months into this journey for it to click. Before, when I made lists of my goals – they were things I wanted, but things I didn’t believe I could achieve, so they were useless.

If all of your goals are too grandiose, you are setting yourself up for failure. You wouldn’t apply to only Harvard, Princeton, and Yale if your GPA was 2.0, you set yourself up for failure. Sure, have those goals, but odds are you might have to go to community college, then a four-year before you could even consider those schools, and even then, it would take a lot of work to get to them. Have those goals, but realize they may be intangible for a bit of time. When I started back in January 2011, I had a goal of running a 5k at my college. This past April, I did that. I started training in March, and successfully completed the race. It was such a great feeling, now I have run 7 races, one of which is a 10k, and I am signed up for my first half marathon. I didn’t start a year and a half ago saying, “Half marathon,” honestly, I did not even know how many miles that was. The will and determination comes from knowing yourself, knowing your limits, and believing in your ability to accomplish that goal, once you do that, the snowball effect will often take suit. 

So, I can’t give you the magic pill for determination, it’s a process of holding steady and fast with your goals, which is step 1, but find a support network – even online there are tons of communities of people going through the same thing you are – here is a few of them

I visit these sites every day for inspiration, community, and seeing that if others can push themselves, so can I! 

The power of will and determination (mixed with that inspiration and motivation, of course), will take you further than you ever thought you could go, believe in yourself, and START TODAY.

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