Rather than looking at your workout in terms of simple calories burned, think of it as “willpower gained” instead. Willpower is limited, and earning more gives you more motivation and self-control in the short and long term.
Image by TheBoth.
A man named Antonio, whom I learned about from listening to the audio version of The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, a psychology lecturer at Stanford University, deserves credit for this idea. In it, Kelly discusses the strong connection between exercise and improved willpower, the more of which gives us the mental strength and energy to work on the things that are important to us, like business, relationships, health, and so on.
Antonio was a student of hers and adamantly refused to exercise despite his doctor’s orders. As a savvy business owner, the health benefits of exercise didn’t intrigue him as much as the prospect of building greater willpower and energy did. So, he taped “willpower” over the calories tracker on his treadmill and started thinking about all the willpower strength he could generate to tackle the day’s difficult tasks. Not to mention the added “side effects” of exercise too, like better health overall.
This idea works brilliantly because it’s a short-term motivator to help you get through the workout, and it helps you see or think about how much you’re gaining (willpower) rather than losing (calories). Better yet, the benefits of exercise and effects of greater willpower will give you more energy to accomplish the things that make you happy over the long-term.
The Willpower Instinct Book [Kelly McGonigal]