Strategies for Success
This month we’ve been focusing on ways to increase energy to add new life to your Spring. From tackling stressors, to getting more sleep, eating healthier at home, and exercising, we’ve addressed some important steps to gaining more energy. This week we’re focusing on strategies to making these healthy goals stick.
We frequently use willpower to motivate us to make healthy choices, like going to the gym. However, willpower is a limited resource and is easily used up. Willpower is the control we exert to do something or restrain our impulses. We believe that if we had more self-control, or willpower, we’d make better choices, be healthier, lose weight, and exercise more. However, willpower alone is not enough to create long-lasting lifestyle changes. According to psychologist, Roy Baumeister, lasting lifestyle changes require motivation to change and a clear goal, monitoring progress toward the goal, and last but not least, self-discipline.
How to achieve your goals
Have a clear goal that you monitor is an excellent way to stay accountable and can help establish self-discipline. Figuring out what to monitor is a great way to think about planning for and maintaining a goal. If your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, then knowing that you’re tracking how many you eat per day sets you up to think about what you’re going to be eating and how to add more in.
Since willpower can be depleted, it is often helpful to plan your goals for earlier in the day when you have more energy and more willpower. If you know you want to eat more fruits and vegetables, then packing a lunch or grabbing an apple on your way out the door can be an easy way to prepare for meeting your goal each day. This is another reason why exercising in the morning is frequently recommended. You have more willpower in the morning and then you’ll have more energy from working out all day long.
Understanding that willpower can be depleted also us to strategize on how to best overcome these potential roadblocks. Planning ways to achieve goals even when you’ve had a bad day at work, or you’re feeling under the weather, or you get home late, these are the back up plans that can help you accomplish your goals despite life trying to get in the way of what you want to accomplish. When creating a goal, think about how you will handle an obstacle to your goal, that way when something comes up you’ve already thought through how you’ll handle it and it will take less willpower to stay on track.
What goal are you working toward this Spring?
What is a common roadblock that tried to derail your goal? Let us know on the Sweet Life Wellness Facebook Page!
If you need some help figuring out how to create an achievable goal, you don’t have to do it alone. Have a talk with Kay. Working with someone can help keep you accountable and provides the support to figure out ways to achieve your goals no matter what life throws at you. Call to book your complimentary coaching call with Kay today at: 301-869-1787
Sweet Life Wellness Student Intern
Dietetics student at University of Maryland-College Park
- American Psychological Association What You Need to Know about Willpower: The Psychological Science of Self-Control. In: http://www.apa.org. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx. Accessed 24 May 2017
- Godinho CA, Alvarez M-J, Lima ML, Schwarzer R (2014) Will is not enough: Coping planning and action control as mediators in the prediction of fruit and vegetable intake. Br J Health Psychol 19:856–870. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12084