Everything improves when you know how to increase your willpower and your motivation.
So let’s talk about how to do it the right way so that you maintain motivation over the long haul. Because ultimately you want to not just reach your goals, you want to stay there.
^ That seems so obvious, but that’s where the majority of people get tripped up.
Motivation and willpower are two of the most misunderstood elements in diet + fitness and successful lifestyle change.
And that’s why I’m so glad you’re here! Because when you have a brand new goal or you’re getting back up on that healthy lifestyle horse, you have a window of time I call the “honeymoon phase.” In the honeymoon phase, you’re really enthusiastic about what you’re doing. So, that is the time to implement these willpower increasing tricks so that you don’t fizzle three weeks from now.
Okay, so are you ready for the trick?
Are you ready for the most important willpower and motivation trick?!
The biggest motivation and willpower mistake I see people make over and over again is they give themselves zero choices.
For example, they’ll meal prep for the entire week, giving themselves the same breakfast option, same lunch, and same dinner dish every.single.day.
See exhibit A:
Or when they’re “on diet,” they have one meal they always stick to when they go out to a restaurant. It’s always the salad, dressing on the side, with grilled chicken breast.
Like, come on ladies.
Let me illustrate exactly why you need choices:
Let’s say you’re at a casino. You’re in Atlantic City, you’re in Vegas, and there’s two different slot machines.
- On one of the slot machines, when you put your money in, you pick what you’re betting on. You’re bet on X’s, or you bet there’ll be three kittens in a box or something. Whatever. (You can tell I go to the casino a lot!)
- And on the other slot machine, you put in your money, but the computer chooses for you what you’re betting on. It’s going to pick if you’re choosing X’s, or kittens in a box, or whatever.
Which game do you think you’re going to play longer?
Obviously the first one!
Obviously the one where YOU make the choice.
Well, it turns out there’s scientific reason for this. They were doing brain research at University of Pittsburgh. They were scanning subjects’ brains and they wanted to identify what part of the brain is responsible for expectation and excitement. And it turns out it’s a part of the brain called the striatum. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz on this.
The point is: when you play that slot machine where YOU pick, that part of your brain, the striatum, and lights up.
When you don’t have a choice, that part of your brain stays silent. It doesn’t engage at all. So, there’s no expectation, no engagement, no excitement.
The biggest problem with all of these diets out there is they follow a single plan.
There’s no motivation in that. You’ve completely negated that biological need for a sense of control.
You have to have a sense of control to have any motivation.
And you have to have motivation to have willpower.
And you have to have willpower to have longterm success.
So the lesson in this is: you’re more motivated to play when you feel like you are in control.
So what does this actually look like? How do you actually do this?
I’m going to tell you.
When you meal prep for Monday through Friday, DON’T make five of one breakfast dish, five of the same lunch, and five of the same dinner.
Don’t do that anymore!
What I want you to do is make six meals, three of them are one kind, three of them are another.
So if it’s lunch, you make three of one dish and three of another dish.
This way, every single day you get to choose which lunch you want that day.
Do the same thing with breakfast. Even if you tend stick to the same breakfast every morning because it’s all about speed. You’ve got to get out the door, that’s fine! But you can still insert an opportunity for yourself to choose!
For example: Am I going to do avocado toast or am I going to do hummus toast today?
Everyday, give yourself a choice! Otherwise it’s just this food that you’re numb to because that part of your brain that craves control has not been engaged at all.
In fact, I even made these printable Motivational Meal Planners just for this reason!
Click “download” they’ll land in your inbox in minutes!
The Motivational Meal Planner is specifically designed to help you increase the number of choices you’re giving yourself every day. And it provides structure to keep you on your healthy eating plan (okay, “diet” if you’re into that word).
I’m queen of worksheets, cheat sheets, workbooks. Bring it to me. I’ll make a sheet.
This choices trick works with any diet.
Some diets are a little….crazy.
But if that’s your diet, it’s not gonna work. So stop that diet right now.
But any diet type, such as if you’re a vegetarian, if you’re vegan, if you’re gluten free, if you’re paleo, if you’re high protein, if you’re high carb – it doesn’t matter. You can still give yourself choices every single day you’re the one in control and that’s your motivation. That’s your willpower. That’s how you leverage it.
And if you want a bonus tip – you ready for a bonus tip?
Do this same thing with your workouts! Every time you’re going to go to a workout, give yourself a choice of what you’re going to do that day.
Are you going to do a quad dominant workout or are you going to do a hamstring dominant workout?
Are you going to do hiit cardio? Or are you going to do like some long distance cardio?
Give yourself that choice and then every time you walk in the door you are anticipating and you were excited about what you chose to go there to do. Not what somebody else assigned you to do.
That’s the difference.
Tell me in the comments below:
What is your biggest willpower challenge when it comes to food?
So I can make more videos to help you outsmart those specific challenges.
If you want more tips for how to reach your goals and also just how to live more embodied, healthy living, then make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel! That’s the best way to catch my new videos and to watch all the gems that are already live!
Also, it would really mean a lot to me if you would take 60 seconds to throw some kindness in the comments!
You’ve heard me talk plenty. I think it’s way more rewarding to start interacting with each other. We’re all on this journey – well, it feels like a mission, but I’ll call it a “journey” – to better ourselves and to avoid these pitfalls in our body and our life transformation.
So take just a couple seconds to leave a comment or comment back with each other!