Willpower can go by many names like drive, self-control, determination, self-discipline, or restraint.
I hear it all the time.
I just don’t have the willpower. I can’t help myself.
Have you ever wondered why? I hear this all the time too. I’m mean I know what to do. I’ll can do it on my own. I’m not saying you don’t know what to do or even how to do. You should be asking the question though why haven’t you? If you know what to do, then just do it.
Honestly some people can. Most have a hard time with it. It’s not about having the knowledge or even the willpower. It’s about our habits. It’s about our skills. It’s about our priorities. We all have the knowledge and ability to make changes. It’s really about how much we care about those goals.
This is where I usually hear a lot of excuses:
Well I just ran out of time.
I was just got really tired by the end of the day, I don’t care anymore.
I had “something” (you name it) come up and I forgot about it.
Sue asked me to go to dinner with her and it was her birthday so I had to have 3 pieces of cake and 2 bowls of ice cream.
Did you? Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. Why are we prioritizing Sue’s birthday over our health? Why are we prioritizing “pick whatever you want” over OUR goals? They are your goals, no one else cares about them. Nor should they. They are what you want for you. You should make them a priority.
Making them a priority is not an easy task.
Here’s what’s easy:
Telling ourselves “I tried” and it just didn’t work out.
Lame and that’s where you see those who succeed pass those who want to blame others for not reaching their goals.
Here’s the good and the bad. You can change your priorities whenever you want. You are not stuck to them. You can maintain your willpower just with a simple change of perception about it. If you feel that willpower diminishes with “time”, you will eventually feel depleted. If you feel that willpower is cumulative, you will feel successful after every task you complete. The great thing about that is it doesn’t matter what area of life those tasks were completed. It could be anything, like sticking to your budget, or finishing a major business project. I find that is very true in my life. The busier I am and the more I can accomplish the better I feel about myself and the more likely it is to bleed over into other aspects of my life. Your brain is a powerful thing. Mindset alone can make you feel more empowered to conquer other tasks.
Alright so here are some tips to help you,
-Find a different view of willpower that can help you with your nutritional consistency or sticking to coming to the gym.
-Next time you feel that you’ve lost all your willpower, ask yourself: How can I rethink what willpower means to me?
-Find better habits to work on. Studies show it take two weeks of doing something consistently before it because a natural habit. Work on one habit for 2 weeks. Pick only one to work on. That’s another place where people go wrong, they try to change too much at the same time. Start little and work to big. Get with a coach to figure out your main goal and then how to create smaller goals to reach that main goal.
Do an environmental overhaul. If you know you are going to eat something like ice cream, DON’T have it in the house. Make it super inconvenient for you to get whatever it is. You can sign up for a CSA so you get weekly fresh local produce. No excuse not to eat otherwise you’re going to throw your money away. Any easy way to add some daily activity is to park your car further away from where you are going so you have to walk a little further. Join a gym or meet up group that can hold you accountable. Hire a health or nutrition coach that you have to talk to on a weekly basis and can help guide and get you back on track when things are not going well.
-Create small changes like:
-Investing in Tupperware. There are many options that can fit any budget. This can help your meal prep. IF you have it made already it’s convenient for you to eat it.
-Smart salad dressings. Stay away from the added sugar. You can even make your own.
-Low calorie snacks. Veggies!!! Have veggies around to snack on or take with you.
-Portion control. Don’t eat out of the big bag of chips. Make smaller bags.
- No calorie drinks, like mineral water, soda water, coffee, unsweetened tea, or zevia.
– Easy access proteins, like protein powder, packaged tuna, beef jerky, small containers of yogurt or cottage cheese.
-Switch out some higher calorie foods for lower, like egg whites instead of eggs, chicken breast instead of chicken thighs.
You’ll notice most of the things mentioned make problem habits inconvenient and healthy habits more convenient. In the end if there is a battle between your environment and your knowledge, the environment will win. If you feel the need to switch your environment up, then maybe it’s time. It may be the only way for you to stimulate new growth and keep progressing toward your goals.