Running low on willpower?

running on willpower
I started running 13 years ago! Imagine that for a girl who hates sports.

Sometimes it even makes mé wonder, how I stuck with it.

The power of habit

And I think the answer is that I made running into a habit. When I don't run my day just doesn't feel quite right. Running has become a habit like brushing my teeth. If I don't brush my teeth I get this nagging feeling I should.

The secret is to nót rely on willpower. Because willpower will only last you for a limited time! And when you run out, that's the time people give up and quit. And it's understandable, because they ran out of the fuel that kept them running: they ran out of willpower

So the secret is to make sure to turn running into a habit befóre you run out of willpower.

The story of willpower, and why you run out

Your willpower is run by a part of your brain that's located in the prefrontal cortex. The part right behind your forehead.

But that's not all your prefontal cortex has on its to-do list. It's also responsible for

  • staying focused,
  • handling short-term memory 
  • solving abstract tasks
  • planning

So the part of your brain that's responsible has got a lot on its mind!

Running and willpower

When you decide you're going to take up running, willpower is required. You need willpower to:

  • actually put on your shoes
  • go outside
  • start to run
  • continue to run
  • run at least 3 times a week

Signs you're running low on willpower!

That's quite a lot. And because your brain is also doing other stuff, you'll soon find you've run out of willpower.

You'll start thinking: 'It's okay if I skip today's run. One day won't hurt.' And soon you'll skip another run, and another and before you know it you have to admit: I quit running.

Scientific evidence of limited willpower

Scientists have proven there's a limited supply of willpower. They put some nice chocolates in front of people. Most were able to resist them using their willpower. Then the scientists asked them to solve a complicated puzzle. And what do you know? Afterwards they wolfed down the chocolates!

According to the scientists they'd used brain power on solving the puzzle ánd their willpower was still low form resisting the chocolates before. So their willpower wasn't strong enough anymore.

How to turn running into a habit before your run out of willpower?

The answer is simple really: just make sure you don't ask too much of your willpower! Look at it like your kids' building blocks. Start with just one block, and then slowly add more.

That's where training programmes come in. They can help you turn the task of running, into babysteps. Just take one babystep at a time. 

And don't take the next step, until the first babystep has become a habit!

This is really important! Because if it's not a habit, you'll be asking too much of your willpower. 

And we all know thát's not going to last.

Once running has become a habit, you don't have to rely on the limited resource that is your willpower anymore.

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Unknown said...

Gah! This is a great explanation for why willpower alone isn't enough for alcoholics to stay sober.

Nicole Orriëns said...

I hadn't of that Pandora, but you are so right! Thanks for your insight!

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