Motivation and willpower generally go hand in hand. Whether you are working on a project at work or prioritizing your fitness goals, willpower plays a major role in terms of achieving success. When it comes to your health and nutrition, the muscle that gets worked the most is your willpower muscle. It's constantly being pulled in different directions, telling you it is okay to have that one piece of cake. Telling you it's okay to have that one bag of chips. A few minutes of binge eating ensue, and you end up back to square one. I would like to share a quick analogy with you.
Think of willpower as the gas in a car. Any time your brain requires you to make a decision, it uses this gas. Any time you are interrupted at work, juggle multiple priorities or make another to-do list, you are using more gas. At the end of a long day, your willpower slowly begins to decrease, as most of your "gas" has been used up. If at this point you are faced with a decision to either exercise or watch TV, which option do you think will likely come out on top? Exactly. A lot of you probably eat healthy from the minute you wake up until you eat dinner. It's after dinner that your willpower (and gas) start to fade away and you are faced with tough decisions -- whether or not to reach for junk food.
When you wake up in the morning, your willpower (and gas) is FULL. This is why I recommend you exercise first thing in the morning when your motivation and willpower is at an all-time high. Exercising in the morning will set your day up for success and you will notice the benefits immediately.
How do you fill up the gas tank when you need it the most?
1) Make it easy for your brain: Pre-pack your lunch so you don't battle the urge to eat out, stay hydrated throughout the day so you aren't tempted by that afternoon snack, go for a walk when you feel you can't take part in exercise, and my favorite, place your exercise clothes right next to your bed so when you wake up in the morning you already know what to do. (Need some recipes for lunch? Here are a few of my favorite ones.
2) Reward yourself for reaching milestones: If you go a few days without eating junk food, splurge and eat a chocolate bar. If you wake up early three days in a row and exercise, take the fourth day off. When you start developing mini-habits, you will quickly begin to see that fitness can become fun.
3) Look for ways to manage your stress: High stress levels have a taxing effect on your body and this uses a lot of your "gas." When you are faced with a temptation or a craving, take a deep breath. Did you know that when a person is stressed their breathing pattern changes? Controlled breathing can help you increase your physical energy and help keep you feeling calm.
4) Regularly exercise: I am a huge believer that exercise can help you in various aspects of your life, not just fitness. Besides increasing your mood and helping you feel better, exercise acts as a stress reliever. Not only will exercising help you get in better shape, but it will quickly fill up your "gas" tank as well.
Willpower is your secret ingredient for success.