This is lesson 2 for the online course, "An Iron Will." You can access the full course here.
This week you’re going to start building your will and your Reservoir of Power.
Pick one of the exercises below and start doing it every day. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. The benefit comes from doing something over and over again.
The exercises themselves will make your mind and body stronger, but your real goal here is to exercise your will. Every day that you repeat the exercise, you’re accomplishing several things:
- You’re teaching yourself to be consistent. In the future, you’ll probably be in a situation where you want to practice something every day, study every day, workout, or maybe you’ll have to do a difficult job or chore. This will be easier for you, because you have already consistently done things every day.
- You’re exercising your will. There will be days when you feel like you’re too busy or too tired to do the exercise, and days when you just don’t want to. But when you do it anyway, you are using your will. Remember, your will grows stronger with use.
- You’re building your reservoir of power. This is hard to explain, until you’ve experienced it. But when you give yourself the discipline of doing something every day, you start to feel more self-confident. This carries over into every part of your life. When you’re under stress, your daily exercise will help you feel more grounded and secure.
Here are a few more pointers before you get started:
If you’re generally an active, athletic person, choose one of the more mental activities. If you’re more of a thinker, choose something physical.
Once you’ve picked out an exercise to cultivate your iron will, get a marker or a pen of your favorite color. Hang a calendar on the wall, somewhere you'll see it.
Every day that you successfully carry out your chosen activity, put a special mark on the calendar. Aim for 30 marks in a row without missing a day.
You can download the 30-day Challenge Calendar, and hang it up somewhere you'll see it every day. Or if you don't like using paper, try these apps:
Disclaimer: I do not use any of these apps and I am not affiliated with them. Including these links does not imply an endorsement or recommendation of the apps listed.
When you do something 30 days in a row, your will grows stronger and you are ready to take on a new, harder activity. At this point you are ready to think about increasing the exercise or choosing a new one.
In your journal, write notes about how you feel when you do your chosen exercise, and how it’s affecting you.
Warning: Do not try any of the physical activities mentioned below without consulting a physician or other health professional.
- How many push-ups can you do in 5 minutes? Do this number of push-ups every day. When it starts to become easy, increase the number or decrease the time. Can you do the same number of push-ups in 4 minutes? If you don’t want to do push-ups, you can do this routine with burpees, pull-ups, or any other simple exercise. Challenge yourself.
- Write down 10 new ideas every day. They can be anything: new ideas for an article or a book, a new invention, business ideas, recipes to try, art projects, etc. They don't have to be good ideas but you need to come up with 10 of them, quickly. You are training your will to think creatively in a pinch. Do this for a few months and you'll surprise yourself.
- Talk a walk, run, skate, or bike on the same route every day. Each day, try to notice a new detail along the route.
- Find a spot in your home that is always cluttered. Not an entire room, but just a counter or a tabletop, for example. Clear it off now. Commit to keeping it clear. Do not go to bed at night until your spot is clear.
- Take a cold shower every day. See how cold you can get it and how long you can stand it. When that becomes easy, try laying in a bathtub of cold water. Eventually add some ice. Then more ice.
- See how long you can go without something. For example, coffee, sugar, your favorite video game, etc. How many days in a row? If you don’t make it through 30 days, give up something else for a while. But every day, give up something that isn’t good for you
- Instead of an exercise, choose a habit that will be good for you when you do it consistently (for example, call your mother, floss your teeth, etc.). Make a commitment to do it every day no matter what.
Congratulate yourself. Buy yourself a nice meal or some other treat to celebrate.
Here's the link to Lesson Three