In my quest to live healthier, I have learned an important lesson: I am not as strong as I think I am. No matter how good my intentions are, my willpower often falls short.
For instance, if I order a pizza and tell myself to only have 1 or 2 slices, the entire thing is gone before I know it. Or if I order something at a restaurant with the plan to take half home, when the waiter brings the check, sometimes the entire dish is already gone. And even though I have developed healthier eating habits, each time my husband buys Cheetos from the store, the bag rarely lasts longer than one night.
While restraining myself is necessary, what’s even easier is not having to restrain myself in the first place. I can get ahead of my poor decisions. Even though pizza is more expensive to order by the slice, that’s how I buy it. And if I go out to eat with someone, I’ll ask them if they want to share an entrée or I’ll box up half of my meal immediately. And I have finally convinced my husband to stop bringing home tempting, unhealthy snacks. Of course there are special trips to the grocery store for special occasions or intense cravings 😉.
Here are some other (non-food) examples:
Keep your phone far away from your bed to prevent late night scrolling
Sign up for workout classes ahead of time so they’re on your schedule
Ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable for your wellness goals
Have clean, non-toxic products on hand and do your research before going to the store
Memorize a few sayings that encourage you to keep going when things get challenging (e.g., you are stronger than you think)
Set puzzles out to work on and/or join a book club to keep your mind active
Set a reminder in your phone to start winding down for the night, or setup a “bedtime routine” with Google Home/Alexa to avoid staying up later than planned
It takes discipline to plan ahead and act intentionally, and it can be easier (and more effective) than having to resist constant temptation. Having a healthy mindset and a backup plan can strategically and successfully equip you to make healthy decisions.