We’ve all been there before – you spend weeks pumping yourself up for the commitment you’re going to make towards a healthier diet and regular fitness routine. This time, things are going to be different. You WILL do what it takes to look and feel your best.
You’re so motivated, you start off strong! You avoid carbs for three weeks straight. You partake in cardio at least four times a week. Nothing can stop you, you’re doing great! But then, you go out to lunch with a girlfriend and she gets french fries with her meal. You just peck on a few – after all, you deserve it! But those few french fries unlock a craving you aren’t necessarily prepared to deal with. That night, all you can think about is chips. So, you indulge in some plain Lay’s potato chips. No harm done, right?
The next week, you’re downright exhausted. You decide two cardio sessions throughout the next seven days will suffice. While you’re at it, you finish half of your husband’s ice cream after dinner. Rather than go for an evening walk, you decide on hanging inside and reading a good book. Before you know it, you haven’t worked out in four weeks straight. The thought of starting up a regular fitness routine again seems downright overwhelming.
I know this slippery slope all too well. And while it’s totally fine – and even encouraged to indulge in delicious french fries once in a while, it’s very easy for one cheat meal and one missed work-out to turn into months of no exercise and a poor diet if your willpower isn’t strong enough.
Here are four sure ways to strengthen your willpower, so that you never have to go down that rabbit hole again:
1. Eliminate Temptation
They say it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. So while you’re trying to establish a regimented fitness routine and diet, do yourself a favor and rid your home of any temptation. Conduct a deep-dive in your pantry and throw out any sweet and salty treats that may push you over the edge. As hard is it may be – ditch the wine or your beverage of choice. While you may not want to throw out your favorite bottle, give it to a friend or family member for safekeeping. Finally, if you have plans to dine out, make reservations at a place that serves healthy options. Take a look at the menu beforehand and commit to what you’re ordering before you go. Once you’re there, no need to even take a look at the menu – you’ve already settled on a healthy option and that’s that!
2. Make Your Appointments
You wouldn’t skip a doctor’s appointment at the last minute, would you? You owe it to yourself and your happiness to treat your fitness routine with the same respect. Start blocking off “workout appointments” on your calendar. Think of each session as an appointment that you’ve made with the dentist or hair salon. Canceling or rescheduling at the last minute would be rude and could even cost you money in the form of a cancellation fee. Similarly, skipping a workout routine could cost you the progress you’ve worked so hard towards.
3. Set Goals
It’s hard to muster up serious willpower if you’re not clear on what you’re looking to accomplish. Set attainable goals for yourself. I’m not talking about the drop-10-sizes-kind-of-goals. Rather, I’m suggesting that you set weekly goals to inspire some motivation along your journey. For instance, “increase my water intake” and “omit dairy for the week” are smaller, achievable items that add up to big results. Once you regularly set and accomplish these tasks, you’ll adopt a goal-oriented mindset.
4. Get Your Rest
It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to get your rest in when working towards new fitness and dietary goals. Whether it be a day or two off from exercise or a good night’s rest, taking the time to recharge and heal your body is imperative in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Leverage your willpower and goal-oriented mindset to be sure that a few day’s rest doesn’t turn into months off from working out.
So ladies, there you have it! Strengthening your willpower muscle is no different than growing your glutes or biceps. It takes time and effort to shift your way of thinking, but it’s absolutely essential in living an aspirational and healthy life.