Here are some words of wisdom written by Alex Titarenko, a Trainer at Big Sky Newington. Enjoy !
Today we’re going to be talking about willpower, motivation, discipline and bowling? Yes, bowling!
If you’ve ever gone bowling with me you now that I’m terrible at it. Bowling is not in my DNA. However, my failures at bowling have given me the gift of a useful analogy for staying on track with fitness goals.
Everyone thinks they need more willpower for motivation; either to get started or to stay on track. It’s true that willpower helps, but it also has the ability to fail us when we need it the most. Our desire and discipline to commit to our goals can come and go based on many factors, both mental and physical. We all want to build up our willpower so we can commit to our goals and ensure success.
Let’s go back to my bowling metaphor.
It’s common for bowling alleys to have a few lanes dedicated to the not-so-great bowlers. These lanes usually have bumper rails, which stop the ball from going in the gutter. You could throw the ball with the intention of getting it in the gutter, but it would bounce back and forth down the lane until it eventually hit the pins. The bumpers are part of the external environment that keep your lack of focus in check. Our environmental “bumpers” prevent you from falling into the gutter and totally losing hope – they ensure we never give up.
When you’re on your fitness journey it’s important to set up your own “bumpers” or insurance policy to prevent you from making the wrong lifestyle choices. You want to protect yourself from the person who gets home and wants to eat everything in sight. Something I tell all of my clients on day one is to mold your environment to help you, not to hinder your progress. In a previous blog post I talked about how we have an inner “wise adult” and a “cry baby”. The wise adult wants the best for us and wants to make good long-term decisions. The cry baby is impulsive and just wants to be satisfied instantly with poor diet choices and lifestyle habits.
It’s important to eliminate as many obstacles as possible in order to let the wise adult flourish. Maintaining a healthy environment can help eliminate obstacles that could prevent you from reaching your goals. By surrounding yourself with healthy food, healthy things, and of course, healthy people it will be much easier to reach your goals.
Here are a few examples of what you can add and subtract from your environment to help you stay on track when you can’t seem to find your willpower.
- Keep healthy snacks like fruit in plain sight
- Keep your fridge stocked with lean protein and vegetables
- Keep your gym bag packed at all times
- If you go to the gym in the morning, set your gym clothes up the night before
- Hang out with friends that live a healthy lifestyle
- Listen to or watch things that put you in a positive mood
- Start using basic daily and weekly planners so you can make sure you get your “must-do” tasks done for the day
- Get the junk food out of the house
- Keep the screens out of the bedroom to help you fall asleep
- Keep your phone away from your bed so it forces you to wake up when your alarm goes off
- If you can help it, limit contact with people who you don’t want to be like and who pull you in an unhealthy direction
- Decrease the frequency you get fast food or takeout
Some days we can be in “beast mode” and have unlimited willpower to do the right thing. Some days we just go through the motions of dealing with responsibilities and hope to get through the day without ruining our diet. For those days when your willpower isn’t there, your investment of developing your own personal willpower safety net or “bumpers” will pay off and you can be successful in your fitness journey for yet another day.
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Guest post by Alex Titarenko. Alex is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NESTA Certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist, and fitness, nutrition & self development enthusiast… who occasionally likes to enjoy a good slice of pizza.