Forget Willpower. Set Yourself up for Health Success
I was having a chat with a woman who wants to lose weight, and she told me that she misses the person who she used to be, 5 years earlier.
When I asked why, she revealed that she used to be able to say no to sugar, get herself to the gym, and feel like she was in control of her health. And her body reflected those positive actions.
But now, she finds it hard to avoid sweets and she’s too tired to exercise.
She reminisces about being the person she once was, and can’t understand why she doesn’t have the willpower to stick to her goals, now.
I asked her if anything had changed in her life since 5 years ago. As it turns out, she moved houses to a new neighbourhood, has a new boyfriend, and also changed jobs.
Not only does she live further from the gym, she has to accommodate her new partner’s sweet tooth which leads her into temptation, and she’s taken on more stress from her new job.
To me, her inability to stick to her health goals is a direct reflection of how her current lifestyle is set up, and a lack of addressing how to make adjustments that work for her. The solution would be to adjust to at-home workouts, having a conversation about health with her boyfriend, and creating boundaries at work.
But to her, she sees her inability to stick to her health goals as a failure to have enough willpower. She thinks that there is something wrong with her character.
When I ask other dieters what their definition is of a lifestyle change, I get answers with words like “commitment”, “permanent change”, and “willpower”.
Their responses imply that there is a “fight” or a “battle” involved with making health work, and the only way to make health a reality is by force.
It sounds like the perception of a lifestyle change is to fight your inner complaining and do something you don’t like for the sake of obtaining a goal you’re not sure you can even maintain.
But the reality is that being successful with your health is about setting up your environment in a way where it’s hard to be unhealthy, rather than remaining in an unhealthy environment and forcing yourself to go out of your way to make healthy tweaks.
These changes could be relatively small, like choosing to do at-home workouts to save time commuting to a gym. It could be mustering up the courage to invite your pizza-loving colleagues to that new health cafe down the street.
It could be bringing healthier desserts to an office birthday instead of letting someone else bring donuts that lead you into temptation. Or, it could even be ordering from meal-delivery services so you can skip thinking of what to make and avoid getting lost in the grocery store.
On the other hand, the changes could be quite large.
Changing your job to the one you’ve been dreaming of that will give you more flexibility with your schedule. Moving homes to an area where you can enjoy the outdoors more. Or even getting out of a relationship that you know has gone stale, but you’ve been too comfortable to leave.
If you feel like you need more willpower to stick to your health goals, the question you should really be asking yourself is: how can you set up your environment in a way where success is inevitable?
Creating a healthy environment is your ticket to never having to worry about whether or not you’re sticking to your health goals. It’s the ticket to looking and feeling like the ideal version of yourself, effortlessly.
So the next time you start googling different kinds of diets and exercises, start asking yourself what parts of your lifestyle you can let go of instead of adding more tasks to your daily schedule.
Katheryn Gronauer, the Lifestyle Nutritionist™, helps driven gals reconnect with the way their bodies are meant to eat. She’s a certified integrative health coach with a background in food energetics and East/West lifestyle ideologies. Katheryn is the creator of FOODBOSS™, the unconventional program that puts you in the driver’s seat of your eating lifestyle. She’s also a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, Mindbodygreen, Elite Daily, and Elephant Journal.
Make sure you check out her free Food Energetics training – it’ll blow your mind! www.girlonbliss.com