How strong is your willpower?

When someone asked me why I took up the 10k run in 5 marathons, I told them I did it to test my will power. Though I am on the heavier side, I workout regularly and I knew I was fit enough to run 10k without wanting to stop to catch my breath. I didn’t train the conventional way. A few pro-runners helped me, and I worked out a plan that suited my training. And I did it. When I ran my first marathon, one thing was clear to me – you need to be physically fit to be able to run, but to complete that run requires a lot more mental strength and willpower than anything else. It’s more of a mind game. And I liked that kind of a challenge.

So, a couple of days back when I felt incredibly bored, I thought it would be fun to take up a new challenge. I wanted a task that would make me push myself and test my will power. I decided to go for something extremely close to my heart. Ice cream it was.

Yes, you read that right. Ice creams.

If you’ve read my blog or checked my pics in Instagram, you would’ve known that I’m a huge fan of ice cream. I’ve been to all the best dessert parlors in Chennai, and I’ve even considered including some places in my will. So, the ice-cream lover that I was, I wanted to see how long I could go without having one.

As you may have already guessed, I failed miserably as soon as I’d started because I had an ice cream the very first week. I wondered if my willpower was weak or if the ice cream was that powerful. I also felt I’d failed because I didn’t have a proper plan. Now that I knew what went wrong, I was better prepared. I made a mental note to stay off ice cream for 2 weeks. Having an end date in mind helped. Every time I had cravings, I would check how many more days were left, and I’d convince myself that it was better to wait. This went on, and I completed two weeks of staying away from ice creams. I did it!

To make the challenge more interesting, I decided to do the challenge for a month. I knew it was going to be harder than the 2 weeks challenge. I spent hours reading up on staying motivated, disciplined and tips for sticking to our goals. It was at that time I read about the power of visual cues and the Paperclip strategy. I knew it was powerful enough to help me stay on track and see this challenge through. I went to my calendar and marked the starting day of the challenge. Every night, I would mark a circle to indicate an ice cream-free day.

The first week was slightly tough. My mind constantly swayed between wanting to have an ice cream during the weekend, to staying away from it for the rest of the month. I diverted my mind away from ice cream, which also meant unfollowing many Instagram accounts or not heading to Instagram at all. It helped.

And then something unexpected happened the next week.

10 days after I had taken up this challenge, one morning I saw the number of circle marks on my calendar. I was happy. And proud. You know how people attribute the first success to beginner’s luck? I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of being consistent, which is what matters. The more and more circle marks I saw, the more I grew confident of being able to complete the challenge. Every time I looked at the continuous marks, all thoughts of breaking the chain for an ice cream seemed to disappear. It was this confidence that eventually got me through the one month mark.

It’s interesting to see how we surprise ourselves. We think we know all about ourselves and then one fine day we do something we never thought we’d do. That’s when I understood that when the situation demands, we are programmed to rise to the occasion and are better prepared to handle it than we think we are. That’s the problem with us human beings. We over analyze possible situations and worry about not having the confidence to deal with them, when in reality we are way better.

If I can stay away from ice creams, trust me you can do anything.

 

P.S. So, after I crossed the one month mark I thought it would be interesting to see how long I could go on like this. So, it’s 50 days and counting 🙂

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

21 thoughts on “How strong is your willpower?

  1. Woaa you ran 10k… Amazing 👏👏👏 I can’t run… Kills me.
    Loved reading your post and how you are keeping yourself determined and strong willed. In this age of self indulgence, it is essential that we practice these tactics to avoid over indulgence 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rajalakshmi 🙂 I was surprised myself when I completed my first 10k 🙂

      True that. When everything is just a click away, it’s nice to find ways to keep oneself away from those treats 🙂

      Like

  2. I have started running a bit but I will have to go a long way to get to 10k. so wonderful that you could challenge yourself and stay away from ice creams. I do that tracking for my workouts and it helps to push harder. Great post and a perfect reminder that it’s all in the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arre why are you depriving yourself of ice cream? Chalo, challenge is done, now go and have some. 🙂 I think it is all about will power, most things that we do and of course, priority. Think about it, we do find time for a few things no matter how preoccupied we are. Hence, yes most times it is excuses that keeps us away. I have never run marathons but since the last 6-8 months I’ve been running regularly. Now I can manage 5K. Like you said, running does require another level of fitness and stamina. I enjoy the challenge of it a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard you. I had a scoop of ice cream today (dark chocolate + white chocolate) :-). I believe in moderation and portion control but this was just a fun challenge 🙂 and to test my priorities and willpower. And I celebrated the success of this challenge with an ice cream. How ironical!:-)

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  4. Keep it up Ash. I too like doing these challenges and often give up eating what I like. It’s tough but actually succeeding is a great high. I wouldn’t try the running though because it’s bad on the knees but icecream – or even sweets for that matter really require will power. I think I’ll take this challenge after Diwali 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very attention-grabbing diary. lots of blogs I see recently do not extremely give something that attract others, however i am most positively fascinated by this one. simply thought that i’d post and allow you to apprehend.

    Like

  6. Setting goals to meet is a smart way to do it… but ultimately it is all about our mind… I tried something similar with dark chocolate, and was happy to see I could manage… went almost three months without it…
    Would like to add a caveat though… with our current lifestyles, there will be a point in life when we won’t be supposed to (medically) eating most of these things… so it makes sense to enjoy it while it lasts 🙂 😀

    Like

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