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Life makes you lift heavy things. When you think about the word, willPower, think of it as a practice, a lifestyle, a necessity on occasion, but, most brilliantly, as a choice. Our personal choice.

willPower is being strong when you have to be, but it is also being strong when you choose to be.

There are times in our life when we have no choice but to be strong. The death of a loved one, an accident, an illness, a job layoff…times when we are caught off guard, we almost always surprise ourselves with just how strong we are. But, we have to be…in order to make it through…to survive literally or figuratively. These times become important memories as they remind us of ourselves and our true willPower. But, “when we have to” isn’t an everyday occurrence, and moreover, it undermines the opportunity to mobilize our personal power to an effective cause…that is, ourselves and this life.

So, what are you waiting for? Beyond the silly excuses you tell yourself, this situation will not get better until you put on your “big girl” panties and decide this is simply not acceptable. You were not born to be dulled down. To be muted. And, you were certainly not born to be slammed against the wall. You are in a holding pattern, hovering over your life, waiting for your willPower to kick in.

willPower is contagious. willPower is a blessing. But, with free will involved, willPower is a choice. Honor that choice. It’s a great one to have.

1. Eat for willPower.
If you want to build strength, then you must eat…and quality protein fuels our muscles. Bison, shrimp, scallops, salmon, tofu, egg whites, oysters, turkey, chicken. Use whey protein powder as convenience when on-the-go.

2. Have fun with willPower.
This need not be a drag-yourself-through week. Call yourself out with challenges today. Make that phone call. Sign up for that race. Go to a different grocery store, restaurant, cafe…country? Yes, just try something new and watch how your body responds. Be brave and see how each attempt — successful or not — simply builds your confidence.

3. Move for willPower.
Take a class at the gym. Go for a brisk walk. Figure skate. Ski. Take a ballroom dancing lesson. So many options. Which one(s) appeal to your willPower today?

4. Plank for willPower…every day.
If you are new to the plank, start with 30 seconds and see if you can work yourself up to two minutes by the end of the year. Experienced plankers, start with two minutes and aim for 5-10 minutes by the end of the year. Daily practice encourages us through progress. We need to recognize just how strong we are…

5. Ignite your willPower.
What fires you up (in a positive sense)? In my career as an investment banker, I would often receive calls from current students attending my alma mater motivated by the salary, the parents’ validation, etc. of working on Wall Street. When I encountered the rare student who shared my passion, it reignited mine. It’s fun to run into someone who speaks your language and shares your passion. Seek those people out. Build your tribe and serve as a welcome beacon to the next generation as well.

6. Encourage someone else’s willPower.
We overlook at how influential we are in each other’s life experience. When you notice something positive in another, do not hesitate to mention it. What seems so obvious to us is more often than not unrealized in that individual. We tend to undervalue ourselves. So, when we are recognized by another, it strengthens us. Be that person to strengthen another.

7. Speak with willPower.
Eliminate the “I’ll try”, “I hope”, and “I wish”‘s from your vocabulary. Replace these with “I will”, “I intend”, “I am”, and, my personal favorite from a certain amazing instructor (Stacey Lei Krauss), “Self…I got this. I GOT this!” Your body hears everything you say. Change your inner dialog and watch your world transform.

8. Breathe with willPower.
Shallow breathing is an epidemic failure. This is why meditation is transcending from yoga studios to executive suites. We don’t even notice that we are breathing in a shallow manner…until we breathe deeply. Start or keep up that meditation practice and exhale when life calls for it. (Heavy weight or not.)

9. Be inspired with willPower.
Inspiring stories are all around us. Open your eyes to them and let them lift you. We are all connected. This power lifts us up because we start to realize what is possible for each and every one of us.

10. Journal for willPower.
As you go through your day, write down coincidences, random things that catch your attention, desires you hold in your heart. Actively work to unlock your willPower…and say aloha to your freedom.

Do want to explore WILLPOWER further? Click here for quotes, mantras, and our willPower dedicated weekly exercise.

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit www.starslocker.com.