I’ve been talking a lot about the new year lately because it’s a big deal for many of us. There’s always the hope that things will get better and easier. But two weeks into January, things are usually back to where they were. This has nothing to do with being weak or having no willpower. Willpower is the ability to ignore temporary pleasure or discomfort to pursue longer-term goals, and it is a biological function. It is a mind-body response, not a virtue. Research on self-control and decision-making abilities has shown that willpower is inherently limited. It’s crucial to have strategies to conserve it. Planning in advance for moments of weak self-control reinforces willpower when it’s needed most.

– Organize your meals/snacks for the day ahead; otherwise, you end up making poor food choices because you are hungry or tired.
– Think in advance about potential problems that might arise and how to solve them.
– Schedule your workouts and put your clothes out the night before. That way, you don’t need to think twice about going to the gym, even if you get distracted.
– Set realistic goals.
– Encourage yourself to stick with your goals. Every time you say “I can’t,” you remind yourself of your limitations. Think “I CAN.”
– Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation puts stress on the body and brain and uses too much energy.