You lack direction and accountability.
It is a very common discussion that I have at least once per week. “I wish I had the discipline/motivation/willpower to do ______”. I get where these people are coming from, and they are not technically wrong that having more of these “things” would be beneficial – however, they are focussed on the wrong “things”.
Saying that you need to find more discipline oftentimes means that you lack a self-driven purpose. You lack a driving force to be disciplined for, you just continue on your ways thinking that maybe tomorrow will be different. Or maybe you are truly content with your current condition, and that’s fine – as long as you are truly okay with it.
I love to use monetary analogies. Having fiscal discipline is important for saving money for a large goal. To buy a house, save for a big vacation, or to pay off debt. Ironically enough, there have been studies showing that people who are over-indebted have a 100% greater chance of being overweight or obese.
Now, these are just correlations, and it is a chicken vs. the egg scenario – because when one is short on money, it CAN be (but not definitely) cheaper to buy unhealthy foods. But what this also can show is that discipline transcends multiple aspects of life.
If you can have the discipline to save for retirement, a house, a vacation – then no, you don’t need the discipline to do things to improve your health, you need a purpose.
You also need to learn how to delay gratification. For example: Save money now (don’t buy the new fancy car that you can’t afford) – build more wealth later (have a happy home).
With food – think about your end goal. “I want to look sexy on the beach” – for example. Okay, now whatever is currently tempting you (a plate of donuts in the break room) – is that worth falling further away from your end goal?
Motivation does NOT translate into compliance. Intentions and setting up your environment for success does. In the British Journal of Health Psychology; a study showed that intention bests motivation when it comes to exercise follow-through.
Control group: 38% exercised at least 1x/week
Motivation Group: 35% exercised at least 1x/week.
Intention group: 91% exercised at least 1x/week.
The intention group was told to create a plan for when and where they would exercise over the following week. Specifically, each person in Group 3 was told to state their intention to exercise by completing the following statement…
During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].
The same strategic approach can be used for nutrition and dietary modifications. During the week I will eat vegetables at 2 meals per day – for example.
Instead of saying you need motivation – create intention. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Constrained (SMART) goals work best.
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Willpower is finite – it can and will run out if you try to depend on it. Sure, you can use willpower to resist reaching into the cookie jar in the kitchen, but eventually, you will give in and eat them. (Protip – keep them out of sight, or completely out of the house!)
Studies have shown that willpower will eventually run out if you continue to resist something that is constantly forced into your environment. However, more recent studies have shown that this is only true if you believe it to be true. Huh?
Belief drives behavior.
Believing in success and yourself will help you more than sitting around and belittling yourself and continuing to beat yourself up. If you consistently are bombarded with negative self-talk – or worse, negative talk from those around you, you will subconsciously behave like you believe you are.
Instead of continuing to think “I am fat” or “I have no willpower” – and if other people are telling you that, well then you need to find other people to hang out with… shift your beliefs in yourself.
This is not to say that you should live in denial, but thoughts like “I am working at being more healthy” or “I am a strong-willed person” will slowly build and create a more powerful subconscious.
If you believe that you have poor willpower – you will have poor willpower. If you believe you have no discipline – then you won’t have discipline. If you believe that you have no motivation, then you won’t have motivation.
If you have a plan, set yourself up for success, layout specific intentions, and start taking action – you will “magically” have better willpower, better discipline, and better motivation – and thus – better results!
Need help with creating a plan of action and having someone hold you to it?
If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.
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