Yesterday we spoke about forming new habits, and today is all about willpower. I’ve been thinking a lot about willpower lately. More importantly, how willpower and habits work together.
You’ve been here before: you plan out your high-protein low-carb diet and make a workout playlist, but eventually you run out of willpower. You just can’t make yourself do it, and then ordering some food looks so much easier.
What about getting up to take the kids to school every morning or going to work every day. Those may not be your favorite things to do either, but you do them daily without the risk of running out of willpower. That’s because they have become habits. Most people don’t have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or drive to work. It’s just what you do – a habit.
The relationship between willpower and habits
Let’s start with the truth. When you build a new habit, it takes a lot of willpower to get it done day after day. Eventually, as you start to establish that habit, it becomes easier. And the easier it is the less you need to think about it anymore.
Basically, lots of willpower in the start -> then you form the habit -> finally, no more willpower is needed
Just being aware of this process helps us stick it out. We know we don’t always have to make such a big effort to finish doing squats. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know eventually it will become habit to go out for a run first thing in the morning and grab some fruit or fix some eggs for breakfast.
How to keep on track
While you’re in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier.
- Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stay on track
- Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other after the first enthusiasm wears off
- Lay out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that run
- Use HelloFresh to make eating healthy easy
- Use an app that automatically tracks your spending habits so you can keep your savings goal on track. I use Acorns
For the past week I’ve been using a handy little app called Fabulous. This science-based app helps you turn habits into rituals and beat willpower fatigue.
Do what you can to help your willpower along until you have made the new action a behaviour. After that it’ll be easy and automatic and you’ll reap the benefits for life.
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