According to Wiktionary, willpower is defined as follows:
Willpower: The unwavering strength of will to carry out one’s wishes
I kind of dig that definition of willpower versus the more-traditional definition that talks about self-control as a form of willpower.
Because truth be told, willpower can definitely be about self-control. As in, I’d rather have scrambled eggs and toast with peanut butter for dinner than those cookies I was talking about on twitter yesterday with Amber, Sam and Jess. 😉
But, willpower can and does mean more than that to me. Especially as it relates to my continued healthy living journey I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Now that the official barre n9ne 60-day challenge is behind me, for example, I’m reevaluating how I approach each class. Asking myself “how can I push myself harder, challenge myself more, experience more?”
The simple answer to that is willpower.
Pushing myself to hold those plies at the barre as long as I can, letting my legs shake versus giving them a break during a set and not getting to that “hurt so good shake” that invokes such change if you let your body get to that “shake” moment in class. This is a big area of focus for me – getting to that shake, focusing on letting my body do something my mind wants to tell me isn’t possible.
…Believing that I can hold that plie for 30 more seconds.
…Believing that my body can handle it and pushing through the flash of self-doubt that happens right before I’m about to give up on those last few seconds.
That’s what I focused on almost entirely during last night’s barre n9ne method class. And you know what? That willpower, that sheer determination to get through the set? Hell, that sh*t works! I held almost every single move at the barre last night for the entire set (count ’em – three sets for every single move…).
…Because I CAN do it.
…I’ve just been letting my brain dictate what my body does.
Similarly, during yesterday’s AM training run, there was probably at least six times when I thought to myself, hmmm…maybe we’ll turn around a little early. Or, maybe this 6.5 miler isn’t meant to be today. Maybe I should do 4 today, 6.5 another day this week. Maybe I should stop.
Hold up. Stop?? Um…no. Not an option.
So, considering I was “option-less” – I did just what I set out to do. I ran 6.5 miles. Even though it was muggy as hell out at 5:15 in the morning. Even though I was lethargic and sleepy because of it. Even though I was so thirsty and just wanted to give in. I ran and I ran. THAT is willpower. Determination. Strength.
As I’ve mentioned to you all before, this training cycle (the half, and the 60-day challenge) has been largely about mental strength and determination. And yes, willpower. This is where I’m discovering new-found confidence. Because I’m finally believing, trusting, commiting.
So yeah, me and willpower? We’re apparently becoming fast friends. I’m thinking maybe BFF’s by the time we get to the half on August 14. What do you think?
Speaking of willpower, confidence and strength – please go check me out over at the barre n9ne studio blog where I pour my heart out about how amazing and incredible the barre n9ne 60-day challenge has been for me. Y’know, since I clearly can’t stop talking about it, thinking about it, walking on clouds because of it. 😉
You’re right, it is all about willpower and determination. I felt the very same way in class last night holding as long as I could, instead of giving up just shy of that. Breathing through it really helped, even if there were points where I may have seen stars 😉 I am going to channel this tomorrow during my long run too!
I noticed we both squeezed our eyes shut a few times during the barre work last night – but it paid off!! It totally helped us to focus and push through that shake factor!! I’m proud that you’re also applying this to running – you’re making leaps and strides on that front too!!
I like this. People are always asking me how I do what I do. I don’t know is usually my answer. It’s just what I do. I don’t stop and question. I just do. And I suppose at the crux of that is willpower.
Thats awesome!! It sounds like you are on a total high from this experience and i am sooo psyched for you. You are going to go far. Have you noticed u are running better or faster because of it? Do you have a mantra for this yet?
I have noticed that I have had consistently “good” runs since I’ve started to trust myself more and push myself beyond my comfort zone (something my husband has been really instrumental in).
Love it! I have those same conversations with myself about turning around and cutting my run short (most recently on Saturday morning when I had to do only five miles but I was so hungover, having lacked that willpower thing on Friday night) but as soon as you make it an option, it’s too easy to quit. Here’s to being optionless! And here’s to eating Brussels sprouts instead of cookies (sometimes..at least)!
SO TRUE. if you make it an option, you WILL take it. I mean why wouldn’t you take it if the option is right there in front of you taunting you, right?? I’m proud of you for sticking it out, hungover and all!! Running + hangover = misery!!
I think you just might marry willpower by the time that half comes around! Your head and heart are there!
Haha – willpower, will you marry me??
This is such a great post, Jess. 🙂 I really like that definition of willpower…and man, to get to some of those goals, it takes some really strong willpower. I love the days where I’m feeling like my willpower can take anything on.
You’ll get to that half, you’ll rock it, and you’ll feel amazing afterward. (PS: totally think of you every time I “shake”. Haha.)
You’re right – to truly accomplish anything, you need a certain level of willpower – the more willpower you find hiding within you, the more you can accomplish. That’s what I’m realizing more and more these days 🙂
Closing your eyes at the barre totally helps!!! I learned this at CF and it definitely gets me through it. You are the complete example of willpower and I love love love this post!
Seriously – sometimes it’s the best way for me to really focus on the mind-body connection piece that helps me through that barre work. It’s killer. I love it!!!
I really have to try Barre N9ne, I am heading over right now to read your post 🙂
you should totally try a virtual class!!!
whenever i am tempted to make a bad eating decision, i honestly think of you and what would you do – i try to channel your inner willpower!
you are so funny – LOVE that I somehow am helping you to make good eating decisions. I can’t even believe I’m the one you’re looking to for that stuff to be honest, who knew this is the new me??
YES!!! I can’t stress enough how much I love this post, and how much I need to apply this to myself. I get so scared of that extra push, that extra inch down in a plie, that last full count of 8 at the barre, the final 30 seconds of a Couch to 5k interval… I think I just need to write “push it” all over my body so I get it.
Haha, I love it – or “embrace the shake” – we should wear that motto on our foreheads in class…or tattoo it on our bodies somewhere. I’m definitely going to need to remember that mantra during barre method tonight, that’s for sure!! 😉
Great post lady! 🙂 Too funny, I was working out this morning and had a set of 4 deadlifts left. I completed 2 and almost gave up, but I said literally outloud “You can do this…you already did it twice!”…and it worked. 🙂 There are certain times where you have to tone it down (pregnancy and just after being a few) so I was starting to get used to quitting when things got too tough. That was a great attitude for pregnancy and the 6 weeks after, but time to get over it now. 🙂
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