WHERE THERE’S A WILL
WILLPOWER IS A HUGE FACTOR IN YOUR WELLBEING. TRY THESE TRICKS WHEN YOUR MOTIVATION TANK IS RUNNING ON EMPTY
Even though we know what the best choices and actions are that lead to a healthier lifestyle, quite often when it comes to the crunch, our willpower lets us down. Before you know it there goes another day, another 3pm chocolate bar with another opportunity to make a change. Damn it.
So, what’s up with that and why do we so easily repeat something when we know it’s not the best option … and how do we go about fixing it?
There have been many studies published lately that prove this crazy phenomenon and it’s called decision fatigue (yes, there is a science behind it).
What this means is that from the moment we wake we’re bombarded with decisions that demand our attention. Shall I put petrol in the car now or later? What’s for dinner tonight? Which shirt shall I wear? Ultimately, the hundreds of small decisions we make leave us with a useless willpower muscle come the afternoon.
This is why we choose unhealthy habits or the most convenient option (like reaching for the ugg boots instead of lacing up your joggers).
It’s common to feel this way after a busy day, even though you might not have done anything physical. The good news is that you can devise plans of attack to help overcome this lack of willpower in regards to your diet and wellbeing.
1. KNOCK OVER THE IMPORTANT THINGS EARLY IN THE DAY
Is it exercise? Eating a healthy breakfast? Planning and making your meals for the day? Working on a new business venture? Make a list and get the more important things done first while your morale and enthusiasm is high. I know I find it hard to knock out a hard session in the evening after presentations, seeing clients and running around after the family. Rarely will you regret waking up 30 minutes earlier.
2. DO A NIGHTLY MIND CHECK
Before you close your eyes, run through in your mind what the next day brings. What do you want to do? What’s on for the family? Set your workout clothes next to your bed so it’s one less decision in the morning. Have the evening meal in mind from the meal plan you made at the start of the week with the ingredients already in the fridge.
3. TRY NOT TO STRESS THE SMALL STUFF
Arm yourself with knowing that your willpower has a fatigue rate by saving it for the important stuff. Don’t waste your energy on things out of your control or that can wait until later. A fiveminute power meditation is a great way to top up willpower levels if they feel low during the day.
4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHOW
It is hard to make any good decision if your mind isn’t clear and a clear mind comes from a healthy body (and happy tummy). Take healthy snacks to work or carry them in your handbag to counteract the times you are feeling depleted and need to decide on something that maybe requires you to think beyond your decision threshold. If you charge yourself up on coffee or sugar and rely on this to get you through the day then you’re probably facing burnout.
5. DON’T OVER-THINK EVERYTHING
It’s easier just to do things than think about them too much. More often than not, we spend so much time debating whether we should do something we know we should be doing when in the end it could have already been done. Spending more than five minutes deciding if it will be beef or chicken for dinner or to go for a jog or surf (or do nothing) is just guzzling away your willpower tank. Another reason why planning is important. No more than two minutes on a decision, people!
Champion ironwoman and ocean athlete Karla Gilbert is an accredited Nutrition and Health Coach and certified Level III and IV Fitness Trainer, with certificates in Child Nutrition and Nutrition.