If you’re ready to make significant, healthy changes in your life, you might think the process starts in your mind… with amazing willpower. Though many people wish they knew how to increase willpower in order to do things such as not eat that cookie, exercise regularly, or get to bed earlier, in reality, willpower is only one piece of the puzzle. When it comes to how to gain willpower for weight loss, you need both mental strength and positive action towards your goals.
That being said, many people misunderstand what the term “willpower” actually means – and the impact it can realistically have. Though willpower alone is not going to have much effect, willpower combined with knowledge can help you successfully live a healthier lifestyle.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at different types of willpower and how you may be using this powerful mental force incorrectly. Plus, we’ll look at specific action steps you can take – by using your willpower – to reach a healthy weight and feel your best.
What is Willpower, Really?
When you think about willpower, you probably envision the ability to refrain from visiting the dessert table at work, or not buying the 6-pack of soda at the grocery store. But in general, this does not give an accurate definition of willpower.
Though you do need willpower to successfully do the above things, using it on its own in those situations usually isn’t effective. Instead, you have to do the background work. You need to be armed with information on how a healthy lifestyle can actually improve your life… from your physical to your mental health. In order for willpower to have an effect, it has to be completely in line with your goals and values.
So, your first step should be making health one of your top values. Once you do that, willpower is the mental strength behind the physical steps needed to live according to this new value set.
3 Types of Willpower
As mentioned, willpower is a mental strength, but there are actually three ways to use it, and many people are doing it wrong…
You can view willpower in one of 3 ways…
1) “I Won’t” Power
Most people mistake willpower for “I won’t” power, thinking that they can tell themselves what they can’t do for weight loss, and they’ll successfully stop doing those things. Studies show just the opposite; Basically, if you tell your brain not to do something, (like eat candy), it’s instead going to think quite often about candy until eventually you give in and have some.
Instead of focusing on “can’t” and the negative, the most important aspect when it comes to willpower is looking at the positive, by choosing a positive method of willpower such as…
2) “I Will” Power
The second way to use willpower goes back to the idea of first gaining knowledge. If you understand why you need to become healthier (like to live longer, be more mobile, or be able to play with your kids), you then have the motivation to move forth with a healthier living plan.
By using that knowledge, you can exert “I Will” power, which is basically making a decision to have a healthier snack like an apple and peanut butter versus a bag of chips – even though you’re craving the bag of chips. The trick is that you have to pick healthier things that you still enjoy and that bring satisfaction – and then use “I will” power to decide on them.
3) “I Want” Power
This last type of willpower is the most effective, and it’s the ability to see past your immediate cravings, towards a long-term goal that corresponds with your values. Sometimes you have to choose the harder thing in the moment, but your “I want” power reminds you of the value of the long-term goal.
Weight Loss Willpower Tips
Hopefully, you now understand the different types of willpower, and how “I will” and “I want” powers are much more effective than “I won’t” power; But don’t stop there! You actually have to put action steps in place that will then work hand-in-hand with your willpower, in order to make lasting changes in your life (not just temporary ones with no root in your values set). Here are our top tips to help you do that…
1) Define your “why”
Simply wanting to lose weight is not enough – instead you need to define your “why”. In doing this, you can get to the underlying values that are really driving your motivation in the first place. Often, when you dig deep enough, you’ll find that your overarching goal is simply to feel better! And that is a value you can get behind every day!
2) Clean house!
Willpower is only going to get you so far, but the best way to ensure its success is to get rid of the temptations in your home. If your goal is to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet, don’t buy anything with added sugar… and discard of the things you do have that contain it! The surest way to slip up on your weight loss goals is to have temptations in your face every day. Instead, put the next step into action…
3) Plan ahead
Another way to sidestep temptation is to have healthier options available when cravings strike – and to plan in advance. By shopping once a week for healthy, clean food choices and (even loosely) planning out your meals, you’ll be way ahead of the game. Then you just need to choose some smart meal options that will make things easier for yourself, which is the next point…
4) Invest in meal replacement shakes
It will be difficult to make healthy choices all the time if they aren’t quick and easy! Which is where meal replacement shakes come into the picture. These shakes are designed to not only help you lose weight, but also empower a healthy lifestyle, for the duration. Plus, you can make so many delicious shake recipes to really help curb your sweet tooth, especially when cravings strike!
5) Get some support
Our final tip is not to go it alone! When it comes to how to increase willpower, having other people there to support you can make all the difference in staying true to your “why”. These people can help lift you up with encouragement and provide extra motivation – and in return you can support them as well. Some meal replacement shake brands (such as our #1 rated shake brand right now, 310 Shake), offer online community groups that help you connect with people on similar journeys.
The bottom line is, if you’re feeling low in the willpower department, don’t give up! Put the weight loss willpower tips above into place and remember that willpower alone won’t get you there… but willpower that’s geared towards meeting your higher values is the key to long-term health and happiness!