Just like every other muscle in your body, willpower needs strength to power you through your day. Every temptation you face throughout the day is another opportunity to tone that muscle and power you further down the road to a healthy lifestyle. Give your willpower a good stretch, and get ready for it to do some heavy lifting with the tips below.
- Have a mantra ready. Every day presents new challenges and temptations. Often by lunch time, many people have forgotten their healthy intentions. When willpower starts to waver, a single word or phrase can bring you back to the healthy mindset you started the day with. When you feel yourself pulled toward the office candy dish or an unhealthy menu item, repeat your word to yourself and remind yourself of your goals. It can be something as simple as, “strong,” “healthy,” or “control,” but any word or phrase that works for you will do the trick.
- Give yourself a timeout. Stress eating often kills even the healthiest of intentions. Whether it’s a bad day at the office or a stressful evening at home, don’t give into the stress impulses that make you want to dive into a tub of ice cream. Instead of reacting as soon as the craving strikes, force yourself to take a short timeout to consider whether you really want the unhealthy option or if you’re just giving in to stress. If you’re fighting against stress, drink a glass of water, have an apple, or head to FitClub. If you can wait it out and find a healthier way to deal with stress, your willpower muscle will instantly get stronger.
- Plan ahead. Most restaurants post their menus online, so reviewing the healthy options and making a plan for a dinner out will let your willpower muscle exercise before it’s forced to be strong. If you’re traveling, getting together with friends, or otherwise putting yourself in a position where you know there may be unhealthy snacks, plan to bring your own vegetables or fruit for a healthier option. Taking the time to make a plan will save you from an impulse you might later regret.
- Get some sleep. For your willpower muscle to be at its best, it needs sleep to recover just like your other muscles. It’s far easier to make healthy decisions when you’re not exhausted from a night of too little sleep. Ensuring that you take time for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep will give you more energy to make better decisions throughout the day.
- Drink up. Hunger is often just dehydration in disguise. If you can’t decide whether you’re hungry enough to give into a temptation, drink a glass of water before making your decision. You may find that the hunger passes, or at the very least, you’ll have taken that quick timeout to think it through before you allow yourself to indulge.
How do you strengthen your willpower muscle?