Muscles can be trained and diets can be changed yet there is one key component at the heart of all health and fitness challenges. Willpower is a state of mind affected by our environment. If you can focus on changing your environment then your levels of determination, commitment, drive and dedication will all improve.
To start eating more healthily, exercising more regularly, tone up, have more energy or many other health related goals, maintaining willpower is the key to success.
Joanne Henson, health and wellness coach and author of What’s Your Excuse? books, offers seven secrets to improve your willpower and help achieve your health and fitness aims:
1) “You only need willpower during times of temptation. Try to consider how you can replace temptations from the environments that you can control. Start with your own home and your office space. For example, if you want tosidestep eating a whole packet of chocolate biscuits at your desk, buy individually wrapped ones, one at a time.”
2) “Be mindful that many salty and sugary foods are purposely formulated to be moreish. Know that everyone unfortunately is unable to ever have the willpower to eat them in moderation, that is the point of the ingredients in these foods. Keep them for a very occasional treat and enjoy the indulgence.”
3) “If you do eat a sugary or high carbohydrate snack or meal, be prepared for your energy levels to fall and your mind turns to food. These cravings are a physical condition. Instead aim for snacking on foods that have a good proportion of protein and good fats; these will give you a more prolonged, steady supply of energy and most importantly steer clear of extreme blood sugar peaks and troughs.”
4) “If you’re trying to stick to an exercise regime, make it as pleasant as possible for yourself. Invest in some well-fitting kit in appealing colours that you’ll enjoy wearing and make you feel better about yourself when you’re exercising. If you like to listen to music make sure you’ve got your most uplifting music on your iPod when exercising. When you find something you enjoy, it shall discontinue to feel like a chore, and you’ll be much more likely to stick with it.”
5) “Make sure you fully commit to your plans. Take out the word ‘try’ from ‘I’m going to try to go to the gym three times this week’. Remember to tell others what you intend to do; social media is a great way to start interacting with others.
6) “Surround yourself with supportive and positive people. Make sure your friends are aware of your new goals, aims and dietary changes so that they can help keep temptations away. Ask for their support and if they are good friends they should be happy to give it.”
7) “Understand that healthy living thwarts the warrant for you to be 100% perfect. Aim for 80-90% healthy and enjoy the occasional treat. Savour it and embrace the pleasure it’s giving you. After all, pleasure is a nutrient too.”
Take note of these seven secrets and be sure to form some of your own personal tips to maintaining health along the way.
Joanne Henson is a health and wellness coach, specialising in helping people with a history of failed fitness regimes and diets to change their relationship with exercise and food for good. From unhealthy beginnings she overcame her own challenges and now inspires others to stick with their diet and exercise plans to become the healthier, leaner, happier people they’ve always wanted to be. Joanne is creator of the ‘What’s Your Excuse?’ and a series of other books www.joannehenson.co.uk
What is your top tip to having strong willpower?