When it comes to fat loss, building muscle, or trying to make any lifestyle change it is important to be aware of willpower.
Just like when your quads get fatigued during squats, throughout the day your willpower tires as well.
Doing things you don’t enjoy are exhausting.
Lets take a woman who is starting to take control of her health.
For the first time in her life she is paying attention to what she is eating.
All day she has to stop herself from buying processed foods.
Every time she turns on her TV, computer or walks down the street she is bombarded with food advertising.
It’s tough but she is sticking to her new plan.
Then she comes back to work after having a healthy lunch and one of her colleagues has brought in left over cakes and donuts from a birthday party.
At this stage she is mentally exhausted from implementing this new habit all day.
She still manages to say no. On the way home she is exhausted and hungry. She has a healthy dinner but later while watching TV she cracks. She grabs a pack of biscuits from the kitchen and eats the entire pack.
Outsource your weaknesses
This topic came up recently during a conversation with a friend.
He considers himself a bit of a movie buff and said how his friend recently posted the similarities between a Star Wars character and a character played in the 80s David Bowie movie “The Labyrinth”. He told me how he very simply researched the costume designer in both movies and found out is was the same person and that George Lucas produced both movies.
To him this was a simple practice and he cited how thankful his friend was for finding this out but to someone not as knowledgeable or interested in movies, this process is downright boring.
I would not know where to begin researching where he knew exactly what to watch out for.
The same can be said about someone new to healthy eating.
Trying to find the correct information on the internet can be overwhelming to say the least.
The following points will hep you outsource your willpower.
- Become accountable to somebody.
Hire a coach. This can be weekly or even monthly depending on your budget. Hiring an online coach is even cheaper. If this is not possible then find a training partner or join an internet forum and post your goals publicly.
- Reward small wins
In Charles Duhigg’s ‘The Power of habit’, he talks about exactly why small quick wins are so powerful:
They’re powerful because of the quick reward. Our brain needs a reward to say – “This pattern is worth remembering for the future”.
No matter the size of the win reward yourself guilt free.
- Time sensitive challenges
I am a big fan of 30-day challenges. I have always wanted to improve my squat technique but it wasn’t until I joined a 30-day challenge group on Facebook that I actually started doing it.
I have seen a dramatic improvement in my squat and it has improved more in the last 2 weeks than it did in the previous 6 months.
What is 30 days out of your life?
- Focus on developing habits.
Most of your daily routines are habits. Driving the car, brushing your teeth, changing your clothes. All of these are automatic activities, which don’t tax your willpower. Focus on forming habits that will promote the lifestyle you want to follow. However, only attempt to form one habit at a time.
- Join a group or society.
After finishing my degree I really wanted to learn to DJ. I had wanted to learn throughout university but didn’t want to buy all the expensive equipment. Within 3 months of joining the local DJ society I was able to DJ, meet some great people and ended up starting a night with some of the guys from the society.
Fasting is a great way to improve willpower along with a host of health benefits. It gives you much more control and awareness over your mind and body. You realize a lot of the hunger you feel is emotional as opposed to being physical. A 24-hour fast is a great starting point. The first time you fast can be excruciating but just like anything it gets easier with practice.
Willpower is hugely important when trying to form a new habit. It could be what is holding you back from reaching your goals.
The above tips will give you the upper hand.
And remember only attempt one tip at a time.