Temptation can strike at any time. But sticking with your plan while working toward a goal, especially when it involves diet and fitness, can be especially difficult around a holiday. With Easter just ahead, chocolate bunnies, cream-filled eggs, jelly beans and other sweets beckon from the aisles of every supermarket and drugstore. Even if you don’t have kids begging for a pre-Sunday basket treat, resisting the candy aisle can be a real challenge. Keep these willpower-boosting tips in mind this week (or before any holiday) to sail through with less struggle.
1. Stay positive
Being on top of your game and feeling good about yourself fuels stronger willpower. If you’re stressed, in a bad mood or falling off track with your plan, it becomes easier to throw in the towel and let yourself splurge or otherwise slip up. Do whatever you can to stay positive and strong, and you’ll find yourself better able to resist urges.
2. Be mindful
When you eat something good for you, your willpower increases. Not eating enough nutritious foods during the day to maintain balanced glucose levels can lead to poor decision making and poor self-control. I always keep small snacks on hand, such as nuts or a superfood bar, which digest slowly for slow-and-steady energy and healthy protein.
3. Enjoy the weather
Along with this week’s holiday often comes warmer weather—and different fresh produce selections at the supermarket. Take advantage of the start of a new season by spending more time outdoors including more in-season fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you feel your willpower being challenged, get outside (away from the Easter basket!) and get moving.
4. Get enough sleep
Getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night can help strengthen willpower the next day. Lack of sleep may cause the hormones that regulate your appetite to become imbalanced, triggering cravings for sweets the next day. For better sleep, try a soothing cup of tea before bedtime, or use an essential oil diffuser with an oil that promotes restful sleep.
5. Don't be too strict
No, no, no! You’d think turning down temptations constantly would make it easier to keep saying no—but that’s not the case. Willpower may actually increase when you take it easy on yourself once in a while. Allowing yourself a small piece of candy or bite of cake can help you to realize you can be sensible without bingeing. Always denying yourself may just increase your chances of overindulging at some point. Recognize the self-control you have, and use it!
6. You have it
Many people think you either have willpower, or you don’t. The truth is, we all have it, and just like your muscles, you need to work on it to make it stronger. Each day set small achievable goals to boost your willpower.
7. Reduce temptations
Have a plan before you shop for groceries, and steer clear of the bakery, candy and frozen desserts aisles. Don't test your willpower by seeing if you can just look at all the treats-- use your willpower to stay away from it.