ChallengeHenry Ford once said, “whether you think you can, or think you can’t you’re right.” Keep those words of wisdom in mind as you reach for new challenges. Maybe your goal is to exercise more willpower, achieve a new personal best or lift more than you ever have before. Whatever it is you can do it. You really are stronger than you think.

Exercise more willpower

Most of us have experienced feelings of powerlessness against the siren call of our favorite snack or comfort food. Despite our best intentions we are done in by desire. It seems we just can’t resist. Or can we? Turns out we can. Although studies have shown that foods with high fat and sugar content are soothing and can improve mood there are ways to resist cravings.

  • Don’t cave when you crave – you know that comfort food gives you a pick me up. What you may not know is that you can get the same pick me up without the calories. Researchers at Bonaventure University in New York found that when study subject drew a picture of comfort foods such as cupcakes they experienced a boost in mood without consuming a bite. Who says you can’t resist cravings?
  • Embrace the craving – trying to ignore the craving can sometimes strengthen it. Instead breathe deeply and imagine yourself enjoying the food you want to resist. Visualize yourself holding, chewing and swallowing in as much detail as you can. Creating the experience of enjoying the food can actually give you the willpower to resist it.
  • Focus on the reason you want to resist the craving. Richard O’Connor, author of Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior,” advises that you focus on the bigger payoff of not giving in.

Achieve a new personal best

Your body wants to meet and beat new challenges but sometimes your mind gets in the way. There is a way around that little voice in your head.

  • Training and preparation – find a training program that fits your fitness level and schedule. Follow it as closely as you can, being sure to get adequate nutrition. When the little voice inside your head starts talking about what you can’t do, you will have proof from your training that you can. Trust your training instead of the voice of doubt.
  • Compete only against yourself – Sports psychologist JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D., advises that you can overcome self-sabotage and perform better by competing against yourself instead of the people around you.
  • Know what to expect – get as much information about the event or competition in advance of the big day. Clear expectations can help quiet self-doubt.

Lift more than ever before

If you’d like to lift more, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Muscle and Fitness offers four tips for lifting more weight quickly. One suggestion is PAP or post activation potentiation. PAP works by shocking your body with a short period of intense exercise to make your muscles temporarily stronger. Use this strategy occasionally to encourage yourself as you progress in your training.

No matter the challenge, be willing to give it a try. Your attitude shapes your experience and you really are stronger than you think.