Don’t get me wrong, willpower is great…when you have lots of it.
The problem lies in the fact that just about all of us live extremely busy hectic nuts-o lives that drains our willpower by the minute. Every stressor in your life pulls from that willpower tank, until there’s none left to fuel your well-intentioned health and fitness decisions.
The reason you can’t get to the gym at 6:00pm consistently isn’t because you lack willpower.
On the contrary, you just used it all up by the time 6:00pm comes around by not screaming at your kids when they spilled their cereal all over the kitchen floor, and not losing it on your frustrating co-worker, and not eating the doughnuts in the lunchroom, and all the other stressful little things that happen throughout the day that drain your willpower tank.
So if you’re not supposed to rely on your willpower to make good progress, then what are you supposed to do?
Take the time to plan out your week in advance so you have some foresight into which days are going to be harder for you to stick to your goals. Make sure that you have meals planned ahead of time, you have your gym clothes with you and ready to go the night before, and you have taken the time to think through potential roadblocks on those days.
This ties right in with planning – when you’re planning essentially what you’re doing is anticipating difficult situations that you need to plan for. A dinner out, a late day at the office, no time to eat between work and the kids hockey game – all of these things are avenues to potential derailment when willpower is low.
Adherence to the plan depends on how well the plan is custom-fitted to your individual lifestyle. Adherence is not about willpower, it’s about understanding how much you can handle without feeling overwhelmed. Smaller more manageable goals are much more likely to be adhered to than large lofty ones.
Accountability to someone else is all good and well, but what about accountability to yourself? If you never learn how to hold yourself accountable, you will never learn to be your own driver. Do you really want to have to rely on someone else to dictate whether you succeed or not? What happens if your friend no-shows you at the gym, or you can’t afford to hire a coach, or your hubby cooks pizza for dinner instead of the chicken you had thawing in the fridge? Will you use these as excuses to fall off track, or will you hold yourself accountable somehow to stay the course?
Weekly reviews of how you did, where you struggled, and what you can improve the next week is a good place to start. If you need help with this, download my free War Plan template and start holding yourself accountable this week.
A plan without flexibility is what I like to call “a really shitty plan”. Life requires flexibility. If you do not have the tools at your disposal to make changes on the fly with life goes sideways, you’re in for a long long struggle.
Understand that perfection is not a requirement for success. Consistency trumps perfection every day of the week. Make a plan, but then also be flexible when life throws you a curve ball and remember that there is always a good choice to be made – you just have to decide to make it.
Feeling full. Ya, this can help your progress big time. If you’re always fucking starving do you really think you will be able to rely on your motivation to keep you out of the fridge? Hell no.
Choose foods that are both filling and lower in calories – prioritizing your protein and veggies at each of your main meals are a great place to start.
Consistent 80% adherence will always beat out 100% adherence done 50% of the time. You can have the very best nutrition and training program designed for you, but if you cannot adhere to it, then it really just doesn’t matter, does it?
Whatever plan you decide to follow, make sure that you can consistently adhere to it. If you cannot be consistent you are setting yourself up for a world of frustration when your progress doesn’t reflect your efforts.
This is the most underrated factor in progressing forward towards your goals. Feeling successful is powerful to keep your motivations high and your head in the game. How do you feel successful daily and weekly? By celebrating the victories. By not waiting until the finish line to feel proud of yourself for goodness sake. You’re committing to changing your life and your relationship with food and with yourself. That’s pretty badass and you should take the time to recognize it – every day.
Try writing down one thing each day you consider a win. And happy dance.
So the next time you hear someone say “Ugh! I wish I had more willpower!” you’ll know what they really mean is that they wish they had a better plan that was flexible to the demands of their life. That they had a way to hold themselves accountable and celebrate their successes.
For help with your Nutrition please contact me and I will show you how to achieve success!