It’s the weekend, Imma do things differently! Today we’ll play a game called Identify the Feelings:
Lets start with an easy one – that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that rumbles for food? If you guessed Hunger, you are correct..
What about that magnetic pull of salt, sweet, creamy or chocolate that has you smacking your lips? Cravings, is the word I’m looking for, Ladies and Gentlemen..
And what about that sinking feeling of standing in front of the fridge, realization dawning on you that there’s nothing to eat in this Great Kitchen of Emptiness? That one I call Despair!
Dealing with Fooodless Despair is not fun. In fact its something I fear, most certainly. I’m terrible with cravings and downright hunger and there’s scientific reasoning for that. If you were hoping that willpower will get you through the whole day of eating well and exercising, and will power alone will sustain whatever crazy diet you’re on (like mine seemed to me, initially), you’re gonna land with your face buried deep in a mountain of chocolate chip cookies with a side of cheesecake! Research speaks of Will Power being a muscle. And like all muscle, based on its strenght and conditionning, it too weakens and strains. The bad news first, by the time you get home from work and your mid evening craving hits, your will power is almost totally exhusted. The Good news : WillPower is SUPER powerful in the Morning!
While I’m no expert on this (yet :)), experience backed by science seems to suggest that if you get your morning routine, say two healthy habits down right at dawn, your will power is boosted. People like me and you even find that their Willpower stays bolstered, a little stronger through the rest of the day as a result of a solid morning routine. Our minds respond to the fact that we were able to check off something on our to do lists, there’s a reward to getting that “promised” early morning stroll/walk/ jump/ run/ bath in. Whatever you fancy, whatever makes you feel good. It counts. Your mind gets high on the achievement of it all, makes you feel invincible and makes it easier to sustain that feeling till later in the day.
Similarly, your will power will stay with you, stay stronger on the weekends, or a day you aren’t going to work, since you have lesser stuff taking your attention away. During a regular day, everytime you push back a task, give in where you should’ve said no or generally take on stress, your will power gets used up. A little. Then a little. A little More. Till *Poof* its all gone, you’re hangry and the only thing that can calm you down is a double cheese grilled burger with extra cheesy fries, Damnit! And yes, I want a cookie! Or a coke. And make it LARGE!
Maximising WillPower is important for me, for you, for our healthy WellBeing. You may find it easier to stick to healthy eating when the mind isn’t screaming for a sugar reward for making it through a crazy day. Rewiring the brain is an interesting process and if you’re brave enough (or crazy enough) to attempt to do it on your own, you’re gonna need that WillPower to do a lot of heavy lifting! How are you gonna strengthen your WP?
- Narrow in on one Healthy Habit: Do not expect to break the World Record on Day 1. Pick ONE thing you can add in- Making your bed, a glass of warm water, swapping green tea for your monring coffee, taking a walk (dogs are welcome), hugging your loved ones, doing yoga. JUST ONE! Because Baby Steps.
- Make it Accessible: You may not have half an hour to do a 5k before leaving for work. Hell, you may not have 15 minutes to shower right now! That’s okay, don’t get all huffed and puffed. Add in something that takes 5 minutes. Or 10. That’s not a big expectation. A 5 minute yoga sequence you can do in bed. Praying/ Meditating/ Reading a book. Listening to Nature. Getting some sun on you. A 5 minute walk. 5 more minutes in a relaxing shower. A big hug from your partner (you have 5 minutes, remember that) 😛
If its easy to incorporate into your day, you’re more likely to stick to it. Simple.
- Keep Track of Your Progress: Get an app, get a buddy or make a checklist and check off everyday that you give yourself that boost of WP by doing your simple, 5 minutes a day Early Morning Practise. For Bonus Points, you can even keep a journal and note down how you feel at the end of the day. As you build the practise, you will notice the changes between Day 1 and day 7, day 15, day 30 and so on.
- Go for 40 days: It will be challenging, but 40 days is how long it takes to rewire the neurons and make a habit stick. Its HARD!! Some folks say 21 days, some say 30 and then there’s the 40 camp. I honestly feel the longer the better. If you can put some heart into it, some excitement, enthusiasm and eagerness for the benefits you will no doubt soon enjoy, the power of the practise multiplies. So keep going and flip back to your day 1 experience and notice any and all changes in between.
To your continuous Growth and Strengthening WP!
Hugs and Strength