A Different Way to Look at Willpower

Decisions, decisions. All day long, our brains are bombarded with making decisions. Work, school, family, medical, nutrition, exercise, vacations, etc. All this thinking can cause fog in the brain! We may not even be aware that the sum total of all of these decisions depletes our energy, and when our energy becomes sapped, our willpower follows.

By the time we have to face the chips and salsa at Grill Creations, we realize that our willpower has been weakened. I mention Grill Creations because I recently put myself through a willpower test. To me, chips and salsa are harder to resist than a bread and butter basket. I wanted to see what it felt like to resist these crunchy little pieces of heaven sitting in front of me while my husband munched away.

Believe me, I was starrrvvviiinnngggg which made it even more difficult. The first few minutes were the hardest because I needed something to do with my hands. I thought for sure, out of sympathy that my husband would ask the server to remove the basket, but he didn't. Instead, he reached into the bucket of warmed crispy chips, dipped, and crunched away! I clutched onto my water with fresh lime and distracted myself with the conversation we were having.

Yes, the more we practice willpower, the stronger that muscle becomes, but I have been reading up on willpower, and it turns out that it's more complicated than just a muscle that must be exercised.

When our mental energy is drained, willpower is compromised. Our brains don't want to make any more decisions. So let's make it simple and not give ourselves choices. For example, we head over to Starbucks for a skinny latte but can be lured by the beautiful display of sweet and savory goodies. If we decide ahead of time that those scones are not an option, it's easier - no decision to be made!

Managing Willpower:
  • Try and remove unnecessary decision making. For example, that scone is not an option.
  • Meditation: By meditating, you are training the brain to focus and resist the urge to wander. All you need is 10 minutes a day!
  • Keep a food journal or track your food through MyFitnessPal, or another app. 
  • Carry around something tempting all day long so you can resist it. It can be a candy bar, bag of chips, or a soda. Practicing the urge to eat it will exercise that willpower muscle.
  • Straighten up! Every time you get in the car or sit down to a meal, check your posture.  
  • Measure it out. If you are going to have potato chips, count out the amount for one serving, put it on a plate, and savor each bite slowly and enjoy. Mindless munching is dangerous!
Would love to hear your willpower techniques so please leave a comment.

Kim Musikant
Active Life Fitness Personal Trainers and Gym
94 North Avenue
Garwood, NJ 07027
(908)389-8009
http://activelifefitness.net/

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