5 Tips to Improve Willpower:
1. Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day. Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University, reported lab findings that showed a link between blood glucose levels and the ability to maintain self-control. This could in part explain why people trying to quit smoking or students studying for a test tend to snack more. (Ah ha! This explains why I crave chocolate when I do my taxes!) Anyway, if you keep your blood glucose levels steady it is easier to control your impulses. (Source: New York Times.)
2. Money. Some businesses are beginning to offer incentives for their employees to lose weight. Obesity increases medical insurance costs and decreases productivity. One company, HealthyWage, sets up contests with cash prizes for people to lose weight. They also work with employers to set up similar programs. If you are more motivated by punitive measures, StickK might be the right online program for you. Hate works. Chester Demel signed up online to lose 1 pound a week and if he didn’t he promised to pay $5 to a charity he disliked, in this instance the National Rifle Association. The thought of him having to give money to them pushed him to lose 45 lbs in a year! (Source: NPR.org.)
3. Plan for Problems. What will you do if (when) things go wrong? According to Christine Carter, Ph.D., write out a list of how you plan to deal with problems that inevitably arise so you stick to your goals (Source: Psychology Today.) I know first hand about this one. When I went to my high school reunion my trainer asked if I had a game plan for eating healthy and exercising while I was there. “Yes,” I lied and then proceeded to do a swan dive off the clean eating bandwagon and into a bucket of fried chicken and ice cream cones. I should have planned ahead.
4. Do the Opposite of What You Normally Do. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., a social psychologist at Columbia University, willpower is like a muscle that can be improved with effort. Anytime you change your routine, you are increasing self-control. For example, if you brush your teeth with your right hand, switch to using your left hand for a time. Once you have succeed with this small behavior modification it will be easier to work towards bigger goals. (Source: Real Simple.)
5. Keep a List of What Motivates You and Read It Every Day. According to Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., make a list of all the reasons why you want to exercise (I want to feel better, I want to look better in a bikini, etc.) and read that list every morning to motivate yourself. (Source: Huffington Post.)
How do you stick to your goals?
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