Does this sound familiar?
- I just need to get motivated, THEN I’ll workout!
- I have great willpower until after dinner and then I eat all of the chocolate (or insert your favorite treat).
Well, you’re not alone and there’s good reasons for saying this! Motivation and willpower simply don’t work when you’re trying to build a healthy lifestyle. ESPECIALLY for our clients who are high achievers, highly stressed and super busy.
Here’s the deal…motivation and willpower will not work for long term healthy lifestyle changes as you might be finding out.
THE PROBLEM WITH MOTIVATION…
Motivation is fleeting and tends to disappear when you get stressed and overwhelmed.
Ever experienced the Impact Of The Law Of Diminishing Intent?
The law goes like this: “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”
~ John Maxwell
Just think about how many times you’ve been all excited about a new workout plan, New Year’s resolution, a new personal development course etc., etc, but soon “LIFE” interferes and you forget all about why you bought it and wanted to do it in the first place!
THE ISSUE WITH WILLPOWER…
Well, the reason willpower doesn’t work can be summed up in this great quote:
“Willpower is for people who are still uncertain about what they want to do.” — Helia
Willpower is a broken approach to thriving and success.
If you’re required to exert willpower to do something, there is an obvious internal conflict. You want to eat ALL the cookies, but you also want to be healthy. Environment versus goal.
According to psychological research, your willpower is like a muscle. It’s a finite resource that depletes with use. As a result, by the end of your stressful, busy days, your willpower muscles are exhausted and you’re left with zero control to stop the night-time munchies and time wasters.
GUESS WHAT DOESN’T CHANGE IN THE FACE OF STRESS, BUSYNESS & OVERWHELM? SELF-DISCIPLINE…
Self discipline means self control, which is a sign of inner strength and control of yourself, your actions, and your reactions. Self discipline gives you the power to stick to your decisions and follow them through, without changing your mind, and is therefore, one of the important requirements for achieving goals.
Self-discipline does NOT mean perfection and GUILT, however!
If you MAKE THE CHOICE to have a treat, then you have a treat, ENJOY IT and MOVE ON with life. You don’t worry about it or think you did something BAD…you’re self-disciplined enough to know you can have treats and still reach your goals. Zero deprivation, guilt or will-power needed.
Ok, that’s great you’re probably saying… but how do I BUILD self-discipline?
HABITS & ROUTINES THAT SUPPORT YOUR GOALS BUILD SELF-DISCIPLINE
It has been estimated that about 40% of people’s daily activities are the result of habits. In other words, 40% of our daily actions are unconscious decisions – they are habits.
Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.
- How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.
- How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.
- How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.
THE SCIENCE OF HOW HABITS WORK
Breaking it down into these fundamental parts can help us understand what a habit is, how it works, and how to improve it.
- Cue: triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. It is a bit of information that predicts a reward.
- Craving: What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers
- Response: the actual habit you perform, which can take the form of a thought or an action.
- Reward: the response delivers the reward – the end goal of every habit. The cue is about noticing the reward. The craving is about wanting the reward. The response is about obtaining the reward. We chase rewards because they serve two purposes: (1) they satisfy us and (2) they teach us.
SO HOW DO YOU CREATE A GOOD HABIT?
Whenever you want to change your behavior, ask yourself:
- How can I make it obvious?
- E.g.: Make your cue obvious – after I brush my teeth, I put my workout clothes on and take my pre-workout supplements.
- How can I make it attractive?
- E.g. I say “LET’S GO WORKOUT!” to my dog Mojo – he comes running and goes with me; we hang out for a bit and I give him a belly rub while I’m connecting to the wi-fi and getting my music cued up.I also think about how much better I’ll feel, the sense of accomplishment and confidence that will come after the workout is done….my workout gets me ready to conquer the day!
- How can I make it easy?
- E.g. I don’t procrastinate, I don’t look at social media, I don’t have to get in my car, don’t have to drive anywhere or coordinate schedules with a personal trainer and I don’t have to think about what to do…I literally walk out to our garage, push play on Beachbody on Demand for the workout that is scheduled for the day and I’m done in 30 minutes. Doesn’t get any easier than that.
- How can I make it satisfying?
- E.g. I go all out! I work hard, sweat and get the endorphins flowing – that endorphin high is no joke! Totally satisfying and I feel amazing after. I also have a post workout snack that I love and it is my healthy reward for working hard.
This is Amy’s habit building routine – we wanted to provide you with an example. YOU get to decide what works best for you. Just make sure you have these four parts in your routine so you can put the science of habit building to work for you.
The inverse can be used to break a habit you want to quit- e.g. snacking on junk food after dinner:
- How can I make it invisible?
- E.g. I’ve removed all the junk from our house and replaced it with stuff I know makes me feel good.
- How can I make it unattractive?
- e.g. I’ve educated myself about how junk food impacts my energy, moods, sleep, health; I’ve watched documentaries on the topic to understand how the food industry works and why junk food is so addictive.
- How can I make it difficult?
- E.g. I have to leave the house to get junk food…it’s hot, there’s too much traffic and lots of people plus I’ll waste a lot of time. I hate wasting time!
- How can I make it unsatisfying?
- E.g. I keep a food journal that connects the dots between junk food and how I feel…I love sugar in the moment but I do not love what it does to my sleep,mood and energy level.
Again these are Amy’s examples….you have to find what works for you but we hope this will provide a template to work with.
CALL TO ACTION:
- Determine your WHY, create the VISION for your healthy lifestyle ….not the superficial version like “I want to lose 10 pounds” – dig deep and get to the really meaningful version. Really start to self-identify AS THAT PERSON you want to be, i.e. how would a healthy person behave? Who do I need to become to be that person? What habits do I need to start? What habits do I need to stop? Really start to IDENTIFY yourself as that person and ACT as though you’ve already reached your goal.
- DECIDE & COMMIT to your WHY & your VISION – how do you commit?
- Invest in it, put some skin in the game!
- Go public with it; get an accountability partner or Coach.
- Install several forms of feedback/accountability.
- Create conditions that make success inevitable.
- TRACK & MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
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