Willpower is a limited resource.
We must, therefore, understand it and use it wisely.
Willpower is dependent upon how much energy your brain has available in that moment.
If you are tired or stressed, willpower is compromised.
So the less you need to rely on willpower WHEN you are tired or stressed, the better.
There are 3 crucial ways to rely less on willpower
- Do hard stuff when willpower is at its highest
- Set up your environment for success so when willpower is at its lowest you are less vulnerable. Check out this blog post on how to set up your environment for success.
- Use habits as an antidote to willpower
This all takes planning, which is something I talk about all the time because it is such an essential part of eating well.
Planning is the key to making healthy eating easier and much less stressful.
You may argue that even planning requires willpower. And you would be right. At least when you first start planning on a regular basis. But once it becomes a habit, even the planning is easy.
The surest way to reduce your need for using willpower, in the long run, is to develop habits.
Habits are the antidote to willpower.
And then you may argue that building habits requires willpower. And you would be right. At least when you first start.
It seems like a catch-22 doesn’t it?
Here is part of the solution.
As I mentioned earlier, willpower is lowest when you are tired or stressed (or both).
So my suggestion is to do the hardest things when your willpower is highest.
“And when is this?” You might ask.
For most people, it’s in the morning!
The morning is the time to clean out all the junk food from your pantry. The morning is the time to make your shopping list and go get your groceries. The morning is the time to do meal prep.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this. But the idea is to find YOUR time when your willpower is at its highest.
And ride that wave of abundant willpower to build an environment for success.
If you need to do a bunch of meal prep or clean out the junk from your kitchen or hide all your large dishes, then do it when your willpower is highest.
THEN, when you come home from work and you are all tired and cranky and your willpower is tapped out, you will find easy-to-grab food in your fridge and a pantry devoid of junk food.
Eating well in this world is not easy.
We need all the help we can get.
Set up your environment for success so that you can now build new habits without relying so heavily on a limited resource like willpower.
Each day you engage in that new habit, you are building neuron connections that reduce the need for willpower a little bit every time.
Soon enough you will WANT to do the right thing. Your brain loves habits, remember?
Willpower is only needed at the beginning of your journey. It DOES get easier.
The good stuff is waiting for you!
So remember, do the hard work when your willpower is high. Use that willpower to set up your environment for success. Make it easy to indulge in your new habit. That way when you are at your weakest you will still do what is best for your body and eventually your habit will be strong enough that you will not require willpower at all!!
This stuff really works!