There are many people who fail to have and keep a new version of their body. Here are some tips to protect your willpower from self-sabotage.
In the fitness industry, you can find a lot of information on exercise and diet. This information helps people lose fat and gain muscle. But the majority of people have no results or have short-term results. This is because of exercise and diet help you have external results, I mean visible results. I call it “outside job”.
Do you know why people fail? Inside job, the mindset. Discipline and motivation are the keys to achieving results. Steve started a lot of workout programs with diet plans and after a few months, he stopped. Imagine you have the best workout program and diet plan in the world. If you don’t have the discipline and motivation, it can’t help you.
This is why it’s important to improve your inside and outside job to win. The first obstacle to achieving the goals is the lack of willpower. Because of this, many people like Steve feel guilty about failing. The inside job has a part of biological (the desire for food) and mental (self-control). Finding out why you are losing control can help you have the skills to protect your willpower from self-sabotage.
Say no, say yes
Saying “no” or saying “yes” is the answer to building and controlling your willpower. For example, Steve has to study for an exam and his friends invite him to go to a bar. If Steve wants results, Steve says “no”. In another case, Steve wants to lose 5 kg (11 lbs) and his friends invite him to eat fast food every day. If Steve says “yes”, it’s a lack of willpower.
Wherever you go, there is someone who will offer you something that will stop your progress. This may or may not be unintentional. It’s hard to reprogram yourself and at first, it’s overwhelming. You have to learn to say “no” a lot of time to avoid distractions and stay on track. Unfortunately, few people help you reach your goals, they are rare. So don’t hesitate to say “no” to protect your will from self-sabotage.
The trap of feeling good
Willpower struggles every day because of the trap of feeling good. The consumer society wants you to feel good every time you consume something, no matter what it is. So you have to make the decision not to consume everything and it’s like having a conflict between good and evil.
Let’s talk about the biological part of this struggle. For example, Steve decided to lose weight, and then his brain promised a reward. When Steve sees cookies, his body begins to create and send dopamine to his brain. Dopamine is a feel-good’s chemical. At this point Steve wants these cookies, it’s an obsession. Then Steve’s brain goes to a second phase. His brain expects a spike in insulin and energy, so it begins to lower blood sugar levels. In this second phase, Steve’s obsession with these cookies increases. Now Steve is aware of the opportunity to score a reward. This reward isn’t a reward for losing weight, it’s a reward for eating sweet foods.
Let’s be clear, your body is not creating this powerful chemical to make you happy every time. Its function is to encourage you to act and stay focused to achieve your goal. And also when your body releases dopamine, it creates another stress hormone. This stress hormone makes you anxious and obsessed with reaching your goal right now.
Your brain has a job to set a goal and the pleasure associated with that goal, even if it’s risky. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between short-term and long-term results.
As I say before the consumer society wants you to feel good every time you consume something. Here are some examples:
- Netflix uses machine learning to show you the videos you might like. Machine learning is an artificial intelligence that learns and improves by itself. Based on the videos you’ve watched before, Netflix customized a list of videos for you. This is why you and Steve (or your friends) don’t have the same list of videos.
- Food scientists create and test hundreds of types of products to find the special taste. This incredible taste that makes you want to eat more. Sometimes Steve opens a bag of cookies and thinks, “I’ll eat one or two cookies.” After five minutes, the bag of cookies is empty. Do you know that?
- Retailers build their stores to make you have a special experience. They organize the aisles and shelves in a particular way. They give you free samples. They use scents in the air and pieces of calm music to create a good ambiance. This is why when Steve goes to a supermarket, even if he has a list, he buys things that are not on the list.
As you can see, when you go out of your house, there is always something that says “here is a reward” to your brain. Now it is easier to understand the struggle of an average person. Being an overweight procrastinator addicted to junk food, entertainment, and social media is easy.
Unfortunately, there are many unhealthy rewards. You have to protect yourself every day. This is a tip, once you see that you want something that doesn’t improve your lifestyle, take a deep breath.
My conclusion is that to be successful, you must learn to choose more healthy rewards every day. The more healthy rewards you choose, the more you improve your lifestyle. For better self-control, deep breaths help slow your heart rate and relax your muscles. It also helps to relax your mind and improve your ability to learn, focus, and memorize. It looks very simple but it allows you to relax your mind and body to protect your willpower from self-sabotage.
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