You’ve managed to stick with your healthy eating plan for weeks – through holidays, and birthdays, and company parties and now when you are all alone at home checking your email you cannot resist the siren song of Ben and Jerry’s coming from the freezer.
“This always happens!” you scream as you bang your fist on the computer. “I have no willpower anymore.”
So, why is it that you can stick to your plan and then all of a sudden you find yourself face down in a trough of ice cream and Tim Tams?
Is it true, do you just not have any willpower?
Slow down and take a deep breath.
I highly doubt that your ice cream melt down happened because you don’t have willpower.
You see, willpower is a behavior; it is a learned skill.
In a nutshell, willpower it is self-control and you showed great self-control for many weeks. You just had a small lapse, that’s all.
So, what is the deal, why does that happen and how can you stop it?
As I said willpower is a behavior, a learned skill that we voluntarily choose to use much like tying our shoelaces.
Our ability to use this skill depends on our motivation to use it, just like tying our shoes.
If you throw your shoes on and run out the door without tying them there is a good chance you’ll end up tripping and possibly landing on your face.
If that were to happen you wouldn’t say that you have no willpower to tie your shoes, would you?
No. You wouldn’t.
You’d say that you were in a hurry and all you could focus on was getting out the door. Your motivation to tie your shoes vanished.
Going back to the ice cream and Tim Tam example what likely happened is that we ‘forgot’ our motivation for following our healthy eating plan.
We forgot why we were doing what we were doing and therefore were not able to use the skill of willpower to adhere to our plan.
Much like our shoelace example, if we forget why it is we tie our shoes in the first place we can end up trying to run out the door and end up flat on our face.
For safety’s sake you tie your shoes. It keeps them snug on your foot.
What can you do to ensure your motivation stays high?
First and foremost keep your ‘why’ at the forefront of your mind. It may help to keep reminders of that ‘why’ around you—at home, at work, in your car.
Another approach is to see the you that has already accomplished your goal. See yourself as the you that has already dropped 20 kilos, reduced your cholesterol, and is now medication free.
Chances are that if you can see yourself as THAT person, you will make decisions as that person would; decisions that are congruent with maintaining a healthy eating plan and living a healthy lifestyle.
Seeing yourself as the person who has yet to ever succeed in losing those 20 kilos will make it far easier for you to abandon your plan and drown yourself in ice cream out of self-pity.
But the person who has already succeeded (who can clearly see the version of themselves that has already succeeded) is far more likely to continue to make decisions that are aligned with continued success.
In other words, they continue on their healthy eating plan.
Remember why you are doing what you are doing and your motivation will remain high.
Slips will happen and when they do ask yourself what caused you to forget why you were doing this in the first place.
If you’d like to chat with other like minded folks on their journey to living a healthy lifestyle stop in to our free MP Community forum today.
For other great transformation tips be sure to check out mp-body.com