Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:54

Why Conviction is Important in Exercise

Written by 
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Why Conviction is Important in Exercise


Gurus use it; life strategists try and implement it and the average Joe is confused by it. Conviction: the gun word of this millennium; a word that you and I will never escape; a word that at some point will look you dead in the eye and command action.


So what is Conviction and how does it relate to Exercise?


An example illustrated by Poissant and Godefrey (1994) outlines the true meaning of conviction:

One day a wise mans young disciple asked him what it took to obtain conviction. The wise man thought about it and then led the young disciple to a river where he plunged his head into the water. After a few seconds, the young disciple began struggling, afraid that he was going to drown. But the wise man continued to hold his head under water. The young student struggled even harder. Finally the wise man let him go just before he would have drowned and asked him “When your head was under water, what did you want most?” To breathe, the frightened disciple answered. “Well there you have it” For you to breath illustrates the true meaning of Conviction.

This story although abstract, applies perfectly to someone who is trying to lose weight or who is trying to win a sporting event. Conviction gives you what you sincerely want, but to achieve it you must be willing to take the dunk like the young disciple did. If you believe that weight loss will come to you by sitting and waiting, then you are cheating yourself. All of the great people, who have lost weight, won a sporting even or made lots of money have all had one thing in common:


The Conviction to Achieve


Conrad Hilton (owner of Hilton Hotels) had this to say about conviction:

“If you work with steadfast determination and conviction for long enough, you will achieve your goals” (Poissant & Godefrey, 1994, pp247-257).


So how does one obtain Conviction?


Conviction is obtained through your belief system. A resolve within oneself that banishes all doubt despite the challenges faced. Henry Ford who was challenged and told that he could not design the V8 engine has this to say about beliefs:

“I refuse to recognise that there are impossibilities. I cannot discover that any one knows enough about anything or anyone to say what is and what is not possible. Therefore, if you have the belief to achieve, then you will find the conviction to reach your goals regardless of what somebody else has to say” (Ford, 1926).

I believe that for a large proportion of people who have made a conviction before but failed, have done so because they have not:

  • Made the mistake of wishing instead of wanting

How many people have been on a diet only to notice that they pack on more weight, or how many people have started exercising by running 2 kilometres on the first day only to stop because of soreness and pain? These examples are false convictions doomed to fail because one has not recognised and implemented the true power of Conviction

To really appreciate a conviction like weight loss, you must:

  • Believe in self-suggestion. You must have the confidence in both yourself and your plan that you set yourself for losing weight. Why? Because if you don’t believe in it – you can’t generate support to convince somebody else to believe in it. Successful conviction requires total commitment. Unless you believe in your plan, no matter how solid it is, you will never get past the wishing phase of thinking (Poissant & Godefrey, 1994).
  • Write a detailed plan of how your conviction will achieve your goals. Don’t just start out one day when you feel able. Write an incremental guide that builds you up to your goals no matter how small and allow momentum to take place. For example if your conviction is to lose 10 pounds of weight, follow this framework:
    • Start with a time frame and the resources you plan to use. For example: 2 month time limit. Participate in social sporting activities; eat healthy and enjoyable foods 6 times a day.
    • Secondly: break you week down over the 2 months by allocating the days that you will play sport and the days you will commit to eating healthy foods. For example: 2 days will be committed to sport with friends and 4 days will be committed to eating healthy foods.
    • The next thing requires that you write the potential threats that may provide obstacles over the 2 moth period (illness, holidays etc). Estimate the number of days you feel these threats could hinder your progress. For example: Holidays for 4 days and illness for 3 days.
    • Put in days where you reward yourself with a fun activity.
    • Lastly, describe in detail how you plan to see yourself in all facades of you life, after you have successfully achieved your goal (Poissant & Godefrey, 1994).

What you will find once you implemented these steps is something that now seems credible and achievable. You have broken your goal into small chunks which will command action. But most of all, you would have found a way to enjoy the process and cherish your new conviction.


1. Ford, H. (1926) My Life and Work: Doubleday

2. Poissant, C.A & Godefrey, C. (1994). How to think like a millionaire: Thorsons Publishers: London UK.


Read 3990 times Last modified on Monday, 10 June 2013 08:13

Leave a comment