Maximizing Willpower for Your Diet

Nobody likes to diet. In fact, most experts seem to suggest that most diets are too restrictive to be useful for a normal person. The key to weight loss seems to be sensible eating, cutting down on simple sugars, and getting regular exercise. However, even doing that much can be difficult. When it’s late in the afternoon and you’re starving, a chocolate bar can look much more interesting than a carrot stick. This is where willpower comes in. Unfortunately, your levels of willpower fluctuate through the day, often running out just when you need it the most. Here are several tips for saving and boosting your willpower so that you don’t end up eating fast food in a weak moment.

What Is It?

Willpower is the ability to pursue long term goals over an extended period. Whether that means saying no to junk food, exercising every day, or curbing your shopping, willpower is meant to help you long term. Unfortunately, the amount of willpower varies by person, and can be depleted by overuse, mental tiredness, or emotional instability. While this is a blow to your goals, willpower can also be increased or better directed so that it can be useful to you in the areas you need it most.

Write the Goal Down

One of the problems with setting goals is that we forget about them in the face of more immediate concerns. To achieve your goal, and use your willpower in pursuit of it, you need to focus on it. Write the goal down and look at it often, it will help you remember why you are changing parts of your life. It is a simple step, but one that is vitally important if you really want to achieve your goals.

Work on Making the Target Behaviors Habitual

Habits are easy to perform. Every day we get up and brush our teeth. It takes no willpower or thought, most people just do it. Because most of our behaviors are habits, they don’t deplete our store of willpower. If you want to exercise, meditate, or some other regular behavior, then work on making it a habit. Do it at the same time every day set up cues around you that prompt you to perform the behavior.

One such cue might be setting your workout clothes out every night before bed, so that you see them as soon as you get up. Once the target behavior is a habit, you won’t have to use up any of your willpower to make yourself do it.

Feed Your Brain

Your brain is a muscle that gets tired. Make sure it gets a good mix of nutrients and vitamins so that it works at its peak efficiency.

Be Kind When You Fail

There will be times when you fail, you will forget to exercise, or you’ll eat chocolate, or break your promises to yourself. Don’t use these slips as an excuse to stop the behavior completely, and don’t beat yourself up. Accept that failure is human and move back into your healthier behaviors again.

Give Yourself Small Rewards

Because willpower is often used to ignore a short-term goal in favor of a long-term goal, it’s important that you give yourself small rewards to compensate. This does not include the food that you denied yourself in the first place. Set small goals that lead to the larger goal and reward yourself when you achieve them.

People spend their lives trying to obtain the willpower to stay on their diet, exercise regularly, or to do things that work towards their goal. With these tips, they can increase their store of willpower and hopefully start achieving the aims they set for themselves.

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