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Feel as though you don't have enough willpower? You're definitely not alone...
According to the American Psychological Association, the number one reason people cite for why they haven't achieved their goals is a lack of willpower. Many believe willpower or self-control are character traits that some either have or don't have and they would be in the "don't have" group.
The good news is that over the past few years, numerous studies have proven that willpower isn't some character trait that reserved for the few, it is a muscle that we all possess. However, like any other muscle, it can either be strengthened or weakened over time.
What weakens willpower?
For many of us, it is our lifestyle. Lack of sleep, crazy work schedules, stress all play a role in weakening our ability to overcome temptation. But according to the research, nothing explains why many of us are more likely than not to give in to our impulses (and avoid exercising and other positive behaviors) better than a concept known as decision fatigue.
What is decision fatigue?
Decision fatigue is a psychological phenomena that has been extensively studied by many leading habit researchers, including social psychologist Roy Baumeister. It refers to someones deteriorating ability to make decisions because of depleted mental energy caused by making too many other decisions and stress.
Changing our behavior, including eating differently, exercising more, all require a certain amount of mental energy. The problem with behavior change isn't that we don't have enough mental energy to begin with, it is that we burn through it too quickly by the tasks, stresses and pressures of our daily lives. The less mental energy we have, the more likely we are to revert back to our usual behaviors.
How do I conserve my mental energy?
By building habits. According to research conducted at Duke University found that 40-45% of our daily behaviors are habitual. These habitual behaviors are essential because once a behavior becomes a habit, it becomes almost automatic. Engaging in the behavior requires little to no thought, which, actually works to our advantage. Because we don't have to waste mental energy thinking about every little thing, we can focus on other important tasks.
This also works to our disadvantage because inside our daily routine are habits that are beneficial for us to live a healthy, productive life; however, if we are not where we want to be in terms of fitness level or lifestyle, then it is certain that we have some behaviors that have become habits that are holding us back. John C. Maxwell once said, "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine."
If you want to change how you look and how you feel, you need to be able to hack into your daily routine and strategically alter your habits. Sound simple? Well, if you've tried it before you know it is anything but simple. Just because it's difficult, however, doesn't mean it is impossible. In fact, it can be much easier than you may think. The key is creating the right strategies that successfully account for your specific goals, living situation, and obstacles. This will help you change you change your daily habits and improve your willpower, without feeling the pain and agony that typically goes along with most diet and exercise programs.
Sounds a little difficult...is there an easier way?
Learning and implementing these strategies by yourself is doable. However, it takes a lot of extra time and work. If you want to greatly increase your chances of being successful, do what a lot of successful people do and hire a coach. It will like to save you a lot of time, effort and frustration. There are a lot of great coaches out there who can work with you to create long-lasting strategies for success. Chris Barlics is one of them, bringing his unique blend of education in psychology, exercise, and nutrition...as well as his 12 years of experience successfully helping people change their exercise and eating habits.
If you are ready to start making changes that last and take advantage of this unique opportunity, then click here to schedule a free telephone consultation with Chris and see if Habit Coaching is right for you.