When we set goals, Even if we focus all our attention on the reasons why we want to achieve these goals sometimes things slip; we get shiny object syndrome; we see something else that we want (in that moment) more ……. The piece of cake, the extra hour in bed instead of the gym session, the wine instead of the water.
Willpower is often the thing we need; and the thing we blame in these moments of temptation. So how is your willpower muscle……….
This is the thing most people don’t realise mainly because for many years it was believed that willpower had a limit – you had an amount; and you could kind of use it all up! But actually, we now know that it it’s more like a muscle – use it or lose it! So; when did you last work your willpower muscle and do you know how to work it.
- Learn to say no! but not too often – if you constantly say no; like any other muscle it (you) will get tired. So be selective about when you say no. Choose your battles, decided on the most important things that you need to work on (personal opinion no more than 5. 3 for me is good number) and focus on those.
- Set small goals towards your big goal – regular pats on the back and a sense of achievement can help to massage your willpower muscle.
- Plan and avoid – think about your important battles and your small goals and then plan how you are going to do this. An example your goal is to lose a stone, one of the ways you are going to do this is to stop eating chocolate. You plan not to have it in the house but your partner wants chocolate :-0 Tell them in advance if they want chocolate they can only buy things you don’t like (my partner is allowed Bournville!).
- Celebrate your wins – however big or small it is important to focus on what you are doing well – did you say no to the biscuits, did you go for the run even though you didn’t feel like it. Start to be your own cheerleader – tell a friend what you did, post it on fb/instagram, give yourself a non-food treat. Remember the reward massages your willpower muscle and encourages you to do it more!
- Track when things don’t go to plan – I’d love to say if you do everything above you will be smash it but things go wrong – you will have off days. It’s important when this happens to question why things didn’t go to plan and without judgement think about how you can tackle this next time – what plan could you put in place?
- Strengthen your willpower from within – sleep and mindfulness are key here. If you are tired your willpower muscle will be harder to flex especially if food, sugar, caffeine or alcohol are on your list as we often use these things to help pick us up when we are feeling low.
Be mindful in your actions. By being aware of the why you are doing what you do you will be able to actively flex your willpower muscle to strengthen it for the future.