Improve willpower and locus of control to maintain weight loss
If you can’t hold on to the process, you will give up and fail eventually.
That’s why willpower is probably the essential feature to lose weight successfully.
If you never give up to achieve your goal, you will succeed eventually.
A 2018 study shows that you need to be at a calorie deficit for at least three months to see actual results.
Creating willpower to keep pushing is a vital feature to lose weight and keep it off successfully.
Not only if you want to lose weight, but also if you’re going to succeed in life.
Another factor is the way you think your life is influenced.
Are you in control or is the world around you in control of your life?
We call this the locus of control.
For example, you’re fired.
You can think that you’re fired because your boss hates you (external locus of control)
Or you can believe that you didn’t work hard enough and you have to step up at your new job to prevent being fired again (internal locus of control)
People who think that they are in control of their life are more successful than people how don’t think they have control over their life.
It also makes all the difference when it comes to losing weight.
A study shows that people with an internal locus of control have the most significant chance of maintaining their weight loss over several years.
In this post, I’ll show you what willpower is and how you can train your willpower and how to change your locus of control to be more successful and happier in life.
You can also buy this book that will teach you throught exercises to improve your willpower. It will help you to become more succesfull in every aspect of your life.
So let’s start:
1. What is willpower
The dictionary describes willpower as: “Control exerted to do something or restrain impulses.”
It’s also known as determination, the strength of will or power of character.
It’s the ability to control your impulses.
Willpower is the most effective tool to stop binge eating and emotional eating.
If you can’t resist to eat all the chocolate in your house or to finish an entire bag of potato chips, you’ll never lose the weight you want.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Walter Mischel, Ph.D., a psychologist, conducted the Marshmellow Experiment. He experimented with preschoolers. They were offered one marshmallow now, or 2 when the researcher came back into the room.
The preschoolers with the right amount of willpower showed the same level of willpower 40 years later. It shows that what you’ve learned as a child stays for the rest of your life.
2. The Hot and Cool system
Mischel explains willpower as the Hot and Cool system.
The Cool system is how you think and act in certain situations. It’s how you remind yourself why you should or shouldn’t do something to reach your end goal. It’s mostly a long term, reflective system.
The Hot system is impulsive and emotional. An example is binge-eating without thinking about what it does to your long term goals.
So when you fail to do the right thing, it’s your Hot system overriding your Cool system. Your impulsive nature stands in the way of reaching your long term goals.
Some seem to be more susceptible to “Hot triggers” than others.
Your locus of control also plays a factor in this.
If you think you can’t do it because you’re too weak or it’s impossible for you to lose weight no matter what you do, this also undermines your efforts to lose weight. It triggers your Hot system.
That’s why increasing willpower is so essential in losing weight successfully for many years and also improve your life.
3. importance of willpower in life
A study done by Dr. Moffitt shows that low self-control or willpower leads to:
- Early mortality
- Psychiatric disorders
- Unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating, smoking, unsafe sex, drunk driving, and Noncompliance with medical regimens.
It shows that a lack of willpower has a result in every aspect of your life.
So improving your willpower enhances the quality of every aspect of your life.
4. How will willpower help you to lose weight?
Does this sounds familiar to you:
- I’m so hungry
- I want to have a pizza
- I’m so craving sugar
- I’m too tired to go to the Gym
- It’s raining
Without willpower, this means that you will eat pizza, eat sweets, and don’t exercise.
However, people with willpower will not eat pizza or sweats and still exercise.
Not because they want to, but because they know they have to push themselves to get the results they want.
The best thing is, you can do it too.
It’s the number 1 thing standing between you and your goal.
So let’s see how you can improve willpower by yourself.
5. How to improve willpower
Willpower acts like a muscle and can, therefore, be trained just like a muscle.
When you study a lot, you become smarter because you train your brain. So to improve your willpower, you have to train that to control your impulses. By enhancing your Cool system and reducing the triggers for your Hot system, you will strengthen your willpower.
Your Pre Frontal Cortex regulates your willpower. It is the part of your brain located right behind your forehead.
It controls how we think and how we feel. It regulates our emotions.
So training your willpower should focus on controlling your emotions and reduce emotional situations.
Also, you should focus more on long term goals and less on short term rewards.
You can also buy this book about willpower It’s written by a well-known psychiatrist and will help you with small exercises to improve your willpower to change your life and be happier
Here are a few exercises to strengthen your willpower:
1. Resistance training
You can start training the resistance of your willpower.
Place your biggest temptation in front of you and start resisting to eat it.
Think about the short term benefit it gives you, like the taste and the satisfaction.
Now think about the long term consequences of eating it, like gaining weight and feeling miserable because you’ve failed.
Try to resist eating it as long as you can. Track the time to know how long you succeeded.
You will fail eventually, but that’s no problem.
Try it again and try to beat your best score.
When you beat the time you were able to resist the temptation, you know you’ve improved your willpower. You’ve shown yourself that you could accomplish a goal if you want to.
You made progress.
2. Start exercising
Training is a perfect way to build willpower. Training requires dedication and planning, especially if you have a family or children to care for.
It takes willpower to exercise and push yourself beyond tiredness.
Exercising is not only useful to train willpower but also to burn more calories so that you will lose weight faster.
Pushing yourself will improve your willpower and also show you that you succeeded.
It is a great way to motivate yourself to keep pushing and to reach your goals.
Buying an activity tracker will help you to stay motivated and keep pushing over your limits every day. It’s a great way to build willpower and self-control.
3. Make good decisions
You can start improving your willpower by doing the small things you usually don’t want to do.
- Make sure to make your bed at least three times a week
- When you crave a cookie, eat an apple instead
- Go for a walk when it’s raining outside
- Drink a glass of water, when you crave a can of coke
- Run up the stairs ten times, when you feel lazy
These are all examples that will train your willpower.
Eventually, this will make it easier for you to do the things you don’t want to do, but you know you have to do to reach your goal.
4. Set realistic goals
If you set realistic goals, it will be easier to reach them. It will help to improve willpower because you know you can do it.
It will make you more determined and eventually improve willpower.
It gives you the confidence that you can do anything you want as long as you push hard enough.
Meditation is also a great way to improve your willpower.
Meditation will help you to be more into the moment. It helps you to make conscious decisions.
Conscious decisions take the long term implication of your decisions into account.
Unconscious decisions are more impulsive of nature and focus more on the short term benefits.
So try to live in the here and now to make better decisions.
Doing regular breathing exercises will also help you to relax and control your impulses.
It’s a great way to reduce cravings.
- Breath in for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 2 seconds
- Breath out for 6 seconds
- Repeat this five times
You will feel more relaxed after this exercise and more in control.
Here is an excellent book that can teach you how to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life. It can help to improve willpower.
6. Work on bad habits
Bad habits are willpower killers. They confirm your feelings of failure and not being able to succeed.
- Quit smoking
- Quit drinking
- Stop snoozing in the morning
- Wake up on time every day
- Stop binge eating
- Stop ordering takeout
Quitting all these unhealthy behaviors are also great willpower resistance exercises.
It will be hard at first, but it will train you to resist your urges and improve your willpower.
It also helps you to get control back over your life. These habits are very impulsive by nature and therefore actually increase the impulsiveness of your character.
7. Think about long term consequences of your actions
A study conducted by Johann D. Kruschwitz, a professor at the University of Berlin shows that thinking of long term consequences of your actions helps to reduce cravings.
So next time you crave pizza or McDonalds, think about what it will do with your weight loss goal next month. Will you still be able to reach your goal, or is it better to choose for a healthier option.
The study shows that people who thought about the long term consequences of their actions where more likely to make the right decision and reported fewer cravings.
Reducing your cravings is an excellent way to suppress your HOT system and increases your willpower.
8. Improve posture
Improving your posture will also help to strengthen willpower.
Just standing up straight with your shoulders pulled back and your head up high, you’ll feel more confident and powerful.
It gives you the strength to face every setback you’ll encounter when losing weight.
9. Eat less sugar
Eating sugar gives you a short term positive feeling.
However, it has terrible long term complications.
It triggers your HOT system to do the wrong things. Since we don’t want the HOT system to be active, you should avoid situations that trigger your HOT system.
That’s because it doesn’t just affect your eating choices but also your workout choices.
Theoretically eating to much sugar can be one of the reasons why you don’t feel like working out. Your mind is looking for more short term satisfaction instead of long term satisfaction.
Now I want to hear from you!
In the end, it’s about making the right choices when it comes to what you eat and what you do.
So what are you going to do to make sure you develop the willpower that is needed to reach your goals?
Are you going to start exercising or working on your bad habits?
Please leave a comment below to let me know.
Let’s make the world healthy again!