Our willpower is tried and tested every day in so many different situations, ranging from work to home life, as well as in our relationships. Stopping yourself from buying those expensive shoes or running late in traffic are just two examples. One of the biggest willpower killers can be starting a new exercise routine or healthy diet. If you are used to eating what you want when you want, and only exercising if you really feel like it your willpower can be put to the ultimate test. Willpower is like a muscle, over time it can be overused and weakened but in saying that it can also be strengthened if you do the right things. These are my tips on how to keep your willpower ready to roll:
Set Yourself Up For Success
If you have strong self-control you will spend less time resisting desires compared to other people. Did you know some people can spend between 3-4 hours of their day resisting desires such as eating, wanting to take a break or sleep? So why do people with more self-control find themselves using it less? It is because they are pro-active. These are the type of people who organise their lives to avoid problem situations. For example taking your car to the mechanic before it breaks down, giving yourself enough time to finish tasks, staying away from take away restaurants and putting your gym bag in the car ready to go. It helps to take control of a situation before it even arises, so when the time comes and you feel like your willpower is about to get tested, it won't be so bad. My biggest tip to people who always have trouble exercising is being prepared. Always carry gym shoes & clothes in your car so that no matter where you go you have the option there. It will leave a lot less room for excuses!
We are all guilty of this one sometimes, telling ourselves we will watch one more episode of Friends and then go for that walk. While it is so easy to procrastinate on so many things in life, it is bad for our willpower because when the time comes to do something important we will be more stressed. For example if you have an evening off and enough time to workout you may decide to spend that little bit longer watching TV and catch up on your workout the next night. The next night comes and you suddenly get called into work or your friend is having a crisis, you can no longer workout. By the end of the week you are stressed and your willpower has probably been used in a whole variety of situations, and you decide working out is just not a priority that week. By biting the bullet and getting things done as soon as possible, you are saving yourself future stress and willpower testiness.
If you are trying to stick to a workout schedule the best thing you can do is write down your goals and keep track of your progress. A great idea is to print out a calendar and for each day you workout mark it with a X, this way you will physically be able to see your progress and it will be an incentive not to give up. We all need a little encouragement from time to time and seeing how far we have come can be a nice surprise when we are feeling a little dejected. This is also why I always encourage you girls to take transformation pictures every 4 weeks. Most people feel like they see no change until they look back on previous pictures and see how far they have actually come. Writing things down is a simple way to boost willpower because it is a mental positive reminder, or even negative which can be encouraging to pick things back up again.
When you first start something new like an exercise or healthy eating routine, you may feel like you are using your willpower more because it is new to you. You have to be ready to accept change and slowly you will get to the point where you don't feel like you HAVE to do anything, exercising will become a part of your daily routine. In the meantime to keep your willpower strong it can be useful to reward yourself. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, sometimes the most simple things work. For example you can tell yourself if you work out all 5 days like you were planning to, you can go buy a new gym crop. Do whatever works for you! Winter is approaching in Australia, I love taking long baths with relaxing bath bombs but I hardly ever do it because jumping in the shower is more convenient. A simple reward would be taking a nice, hot bath at the end of a workout if it is a miserable day outside. Take the time to pamper yourself a bit more or just do something out of the ordinary that will give you an incentive to keep going. Eventually you won't need to reward yourself as everything becomes a habit. Try not to rely on food as a reward because that can set bad behaviours between eating foods and exercising, you don't want to overindulge too much.
I hope these tips have helped girls, remember having a positive outlook on life ALWAYS helps and taking each day as it comes. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a workout here or there, recognise you are doing really well and keep going!