The answer to all of life’s problems, right?
But did you know that your willpower is actually a finite resource, and it fades over the course of the day?
Every time you make a decision, modify your behavior in pursuit of a goal, or suppress an emotion, you slowly chip away at your willpower stores.
This is why your unfortunate Ben and Jerry’s habit rears its ugly yet oh-so-delicious head at 11:30 at night and not 10am.
Or why after a tough, stressful meeting, you blow up at your husband on the phone about the dry cleaning.
It’s just that you’ve depleted your willpower stores— you got nothin’ left to draw from!
But this sucks, right?
Cause, most of the time, we don’t really have control over where our stress, emotional strain, and mental depletion comes from.
However, there IS a solution to this willpower dilemma…
But first, we need to start by recognizing that willpower is like a muscle, and the more you flex it and condition it, the stronger and more ironclad it becomes.
In practical terms, this means putting in the time and staying super consistent with whatever changes you’re trying to implement.
Maybe it means telling the people in your life to hold you accountable for clean eating. Or setting your alarm clock annoyingly far across the room so you HAVE to get out of bed earlier. Or actually paying for that creative writing class so you actually do your writing each week.
Whatever it is, whatever it takes, you gotta do it consistently.
But that can get kind of exhausting, right?
And also, no matter how much time you spend conditioning and training that willpower muscle, it’s still a muscle and there’s only so much it can take, cause, as it turns out, you’re only human.
So how do we manufacture this consistency long term in a way that doesn’t, well...suck?
The answer lies in your habits.
Ah, yes, habits. Those sneaky little practices that dictate about 40% of everything we do throughout the day.
All habits exist in a loop consisting of 3 parts:
A CUE is a subconscious trigger for your brain to switch into “autopilot”.
For example, walking into your bathroom in the morning and turning on the shower. (The ROUTINE being the shower, and the REWARD being slowly coming into wakefulness by way of a steamy, comforting downpour of hot water).
These cues are often deeply wired into our system and are very hard to change. We do however have control over our routines.
So let’s say we wanted to brush our teeth instead of taking a shower.
Just identify the CUE, which would be “walking into the bathroom in the morning,” and then instead of reaching for the shower nob, get in the habit of pulling out your toothbrush instead.
Thus, the key to overcoming your bad habits is just getting really good at recognizing and acknowledging these cues.
Waking up and immediately hitting the snooze button…
Starting the prepare dinner and cracking open a bottle of wine…
Getting home from work and turning on your TV before you can even think about getting out your gym clothes…
And once you start to recognize these slippery, self-sabotaging cues, you can hack into your routines, switch things up, and basically get anything you ever wanted from life.
Not bad, eh?
Now I wanna know: what’re some of YOUR habit cues? Comment below and I promise to give you the personal attention you need to help you work through them!