A lesson in willpower

Learn how to befriend your willpower.

Kate Toholka shows us how to make willpower our friend and how easy it is to eliminate the obstacles that get in the way.

I’ve never heard of anyone who loves making decisions. They definitely aren’t a highlight of anyone’s day, but unfortunately they’re a regular fixture. Essentially everything we do, think and say is rooted in a decision.

Do I say what I really think? Do I choose the cacao superfood smoothie or the green warrior? Steak or fish for tea? Pants or skirt?

Even the littlest decisions can take a big chunk of our time and our energy. They ultimately destroy our willpower to choose the right decision. Have you heard of the phrase ‘decision fatigue’? I believe we all resonate with this. Basically, we get tired and overwhelmed picking something when there are too many options on hand.

Supermarkets take advantage of this by placing all those delicious toxic-loaded treats at the checkout.

Picture this: You’re at the supermarket, kids or hubby in tow (they both act the same in a supermarket, right?). You have to make a heap of decisions. What to have for breakfast. What to have for dinner on Monday night. Which brand has the least or no chemicals added. You get to the checkout and you’re knackered. Your willpower is stumped – you just don’t have the energy to say no to that Mars Bar.

Or imagine this: You wake up and finally feel motivated to do some exercise. It’s raining outside, so you think you probably don’t really want to go for a run. So gym it is. You open your wardrobe and look at your gym clothes.

Your favourite singlet stinks, your pants are in the wash. You’re left with choosing between your old grey pants and your even older brown pants. Neither are appealing. Then you have to decide which workout routine you’re going to do today. And as if on cue, all of a sudden bed appears so much more appealing…

The best way to make friends with your willpower is to reduce your decision fatigue.

It’s going to be the number one thing you need to do in order to be more productive and make better, healthier choices. And it’s essential we eliminate decision fatigue from the everyday decisions. But how to do that? Easy, let me make that decision for you:

1. Reduce your options

Have two workout outfits on rotation. Have one option for breakfast. Have one standard smoothie recipe. Don’t have snacks in the pantry. Lay out your clothes for the following day the night before. Have less on your to-do list. Less is more. You can’t be fatigued when you only have a couple of options, so make it easier for yourself and eliminate them in the first place.

2. Create a morning routine

Wellness advocates everywhere rave about creating a morning routine, and rightfully so. Starting your day off right, without wasting your energy deciding what you need to do, is the first step to making your day great. Experiment and find out what will energise you and prepare you for the rest of the day. Then do it. Every single day.

3. Make the everyday stuff a healthy habit that you don't even think about

Our health is a given. We need to foster it and care for it every single day. Make your healthy behaviours habits – habits don’t need our mental attention. We just do them. We don’t decide if we feel like following our habits today or not, we just subconsciously act them out. Make it a priority to follow a healthy routine (incorporating your morning routine) until it becomes second nature to you.

NEXT: Release your happy hormones with a bit of yoga





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