Motivation and willpower are two things we must have if we are going to successfully lose weight.
But why, when we know we want something badly, do we often find ourselves lacking the motivation to do the things we know we need to in order to get the results we want?
Because motivation and willpower are deplete-able resources. You can and will use them up.
Think of your motivation or willpower like your cell phone. When you wake up in the morning, it is fully charged.
As you go throughout the day, you’re making decisions. Choosing a healthy breakfast, debating whether to have a cookie at the office meeting.
Each time you draw on that willpower, just like using your cell phone to make a call, it drains the battery a little.
At the end of the day, your battery is almost dead.
That’s why when your significant other suggests pizza instead of cooking, you know you shouldn’t have pizza because you want to lose weight and eat healthy, but you just can’t say no.
The battery is dead.
Now, with your cell phone, you go through this process all day long. But you can save your battery life by being sure to take time throughout the day to plug that phone into its charger for a boost.
How do we recharge our willpower and motivation? By not using them.
How can we NOT use them? By creating habits which eliminate decisions.
Plan and prepare meals ahead of time, practice a consistent healthy routine. Go to the gym at the same time every day. Make it a habit to avoid grabbing candy from the candy dish at work.
Then you don’t have to drain your willpower, because the decision is already made. You just have to do what you always do.
The second way to keep motivation strong, is to outsmart the future you.
Think of present you, Monday morning you. You’re motivated, excited about taking on these new goals and practicing good habits.
Now think about future you, Thursday evening you. She’s been working all week, she’s tired and basically she’s OVER it.
Future you is the one who is going to blow everything for present you.
So you have to outsmart her. Here’s how
1. Plan ahead.
Stash healthy snacks stashed in your purse, in your desk drawer at work, and in your car, so there’s no excuse to hit the vending machine or snag a donut in the break room. You’ve got it covered.
2. Do “diet recon” work.
Do a Google search and find the two best, healthiest restaurants near your home and also your work. Find the two best menu options at each. Write them down. Now the next time you’re stuck at work late or you get home and have nothing to make for dinner, you have options you can go to without having to think about it.
3. Portion your snack foods in to individual bags.
We tend to snack a lot more from a larger bag because it is harder to tell how much we’ve eaten. In order to prevent yourself from over-eating, take large containers of chips, nuts, crackers, etc and place them into individual servings in bags. Think of it as making your own 100 calorie packs. This way you know exactly how much you’re eating, and you’re much less likely to have two when you know it is double the serving and double the calories.
4. Sign up for workout classes and pay in advance.
Accountability is huge in sticking to commitment. If you sign up for something ahead of time you’re less likely to cancel, and if you paid for it you’re going to want to get your money’s worth. Instead of saying “I’m going to try to go to the gym after work.” Sign up for the evening class and put it on your calendar so you’re committed.
Now it’s your turn. What is ONE thing you can do today that will help you stay on track even when you don’t feel like it? Keep your willpower strong by using it now to plan for those future moments when you’re not feeling quite so motivated.