5. FACT: Strength requires willpower.
Anyone who has ever decided that an after work beer sounds better than going to the gym knows the critical role of willpower. Here’s the thing: You can actually plan to have more of it. According to Frank Martela, a willpower researcher and the author of Willpower: The Owner’s Manual, the key is to simultaneously focus on big goals and the small steps that will achieve them. The mere act of pausing mid-afternoon and reminding yourself of the long-term plan — packing on muscle or completing a marathon — flips the stressed out mind from short-term gratification (an IPA sure would taste good) to long- term satisfaction (crossing that finish line is going to feel amazing). Plotting small steps makes it all feel more doable. “Be precise, and decide ahead of time how, when, and where to fulfill them,” Martela says. In other words, don’t just think “Maybe I’ll go for a training run tonight.” Pull out your phone, and write “4 miles at the track at 6 PM” on your Google calendar. And that beer? We guarantee it will taste better after hard work.
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