What comes to mind when you think of willpower? Resisting temptation? Avoiding that second piece of cake, eating an apple when you really want chips, even getting out of bed when you would rather just sleep in all day. At times, we may falter and give in to these desires, but at other times, we persevere. That’s willpower.
Psychologists define willpower as “the ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” When it comes to fitness and health, this is very important. Many of us may not be satisfied with our current physical condition, so we work toward a long term goal. Having willpower makes all the difference between seeing the results you want and doing the bare minimum.
Just as you do when you begin a new workout regimen, take the time for the thorough development and practice that can build willpower. Think of willpower as a muscle that requires training and conditioning to achieve the desired results. We’ve created this 7-day willpower challenge to help you train your willpower and conquer everyday temptations. Once the week is over, continue to work on developing your willpower.
Day 1: Sleep – Do you think that extra 5 minutes will make all the difference in the world? Honestly, it won’t. We train our minds to think it will, and we begin to believe it. It’s time to train your body to get up as soon as you wake up using these tips.
1. Set your bedtime to 8 hours and 30 minutes from when you need to wake up. This allows you time to transition into sleep.
2. Turn off all electronics except your alarm, if needed. After getting over eight hours os sleep, you’ll begin to wake up before your alarm, and this will give you more time in the day. If you use an alarm, place it on the far side of your room, so that you can’t cheat and hit the snooze button.
3. If you can, open your blinds to let light in to welcome you when you wake up.
4. Once you wake up, get up. Fight that urge to throw the sheets back over you. Your nightly setup should have you well rested and out of bed. If your body is up and the sun is out, it’s time to start your day, even if it’s the weekend. The more you train your body to get up, the better rested you’ll feel, and the easier it will be to have an early start to your day.
Day 2: Food and Beverages – Food can be a huge weakness for many people. Unhealthy sweets and processed foods are easy to enjoy, since they are inexpensive and convenient. Starting today, plan out your meals for the week. Include 3-4 meals and 3-4 snacks depending on how busy your day is and how long you will be out the house. Urges come at all random times, but having a healthy alternative ready will help tackle all cravings. Our most common desires are sweet and salty, so preparing one snack of each will tackle those cravings and train you to stay away from impulse snack buying. Our 50 Clean Eating Snacks has a large variety of options to get you started, while our 21 Easy and Quick Clean Eating Recipes will give you breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
Day 3: Meditate – Meditation is more than being in deep thought. It teaches us patience and concentration. Starting today, dedicate 15 minutes to meditating. As you start off, it will seem challenging, and at times, frustrating, but the key to meditating is perseverance and creating your own unique experience. As it becomes less challenging, add more minutes to your meditation session. The longer you meditate, the greater your ability to be patient. Once you strengthen your patience, you can more easily resist in-the-moment urges.
Day 4: Television – TV is a daily distraction from productivity. We’re always itching to see what’s the latest on our favorite show, whether it’s learning who is going home on a certain reality show or whether someone will finally confess their love to a close friend on a drama. You don’t need it. As relaxing as we assume TV can be, there is a whole world of our own that we can create for ourselves. Use the time you usually spend watching television to head outdoors and explore a new part of your town. Bad weather? Grab a story, atlas, or art book and immerse your mind in another world that helps to develop your imagination. The more you stay away from television and experience new adventures directly or vicariously, the more you’ll appreciate your world and its possibilities.
Day 5: Train Your Brain – Our brains work similarly to our muscles. The more we train them, the stronger they become. On day 5, focus on honing your brain with a new skill. Whether you work on learning an instrument, new language, or brain training games like sudoku and even chess, take the time out of your day to be patient and work your brain. Try to stay away from braining training apps since being on your phone comes with typical distractions. The more you train your brain, the more you can take control of how you think and react.
Day 6: Handheld Electronics – Our handhelds consume our lives. Centerpieces that keep us connected to the world, our cellphones and tablets are important in our lives, but also end up controlling them. Today’s challenge is about transitioning ourselves to only use our handhelds when it’s important to do so. Imagine how many personal and productive things you could do if you weren’t on social media or constantly distracted by unnecessary apps? Focus on using your handhelds only for phone calls, emails, important text messages, and the news. All social media apps can be used online in the same capacity. Uninstall all of the apps from your phone and allocate 10 minutes of your day to going online and playing a quick “catch up”. Eventually, you’ll realize you aren’t missing out on anything and can channel that extra time into more productivity at work and in your personal life.
Day 7: Exercise – On the last day of the challenge, focus on a challenging workout. Always use 10 lbs weights? Go for the 12 lbs. Usually commit to burpees for 30 seconds? Do them for 45 seconds! Push your body and mind and take away the standards you previously set for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how strong you’ve been this whole time. Push through every second and rep.
Looking for more ways to boost your brain power? Check out some of these article:
4 Ways to Train Your Brain for Weight Loss
Nurture That Noggin: 9 Brain Foods to Keep You Young
Boost Your Brain Power! Weight Loss and Mental Performance!