I often hear people tell me that they would lose weight or exercise more if they just had the “willpower”. I get it, you feel like you need to ignite that feeling in yourself to get yourself going, stick with your goals, push past your plateaus. I think that finding your motivation for changing a habit is wise, it can help you get started with a seemingly daunting goal. But then you need something more. And willpower? Well, it can only get you so far.
I think as the day goes on, willpower wanes. An evening run once the kids are in bed sounds great while you drink your coffee at breakfast, but come dinnertime, you are just too tired to move after you eat. Or you forgot that someone had a t-ball game and you won’t have time to run now. So whether its obligations that come up or your brain is just too tired to get you pumped up for a workout, it’s hard to rely on willpower to get you to your goals. What can help?
Here are a few suggestions that work for me:
- Stop thinking so much, try the 5 second rule
- Make the healthy choice, the easy choice: when I’m trying to eat healthier, I capitalize on the willpower I have on the weekend (when I’m more relaxed, have some more time) and wash, chop, divvy up produce. I cook big batches of nutritious meals for the week (quiche, salads, roasted vegetables) so when I’m short on time and hungry, all I have to do is reheat and eat. When it comes to exercising, I lay out my clothes on the bathroom counter so I can change in there without waking up my spouse. Because I’m trying to lose some weight from this last pregnancy, I’m also tracking my calorie intake. To do this I use MyFitnessPal.com on my phone- it’s always with me and it allows me to enter my intake right when I eat.
- Make it fun: When I run, walk, or lift weights I listen to podcasts and free books on tape. It feels like a “treat” when I exercise and get to listen to something I’m interested in at the same time. For audio books- try the “Hoopla” app, you just need your library card and WiFi to initially download the book of choice.
What helps you stick to your goals?