How to Stick to Your Fitness Habits the Easy Way, According to Science
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Staying in shape is mostly about program compliance.
It’s not about having the best fitness program, but about having one that’s good enough, eating less junk food and making sure you actually stick to it.
And most people have trouble doing that.
Successful dieters usually declare certain foods to be completely out of bounds, or allowed only during occasional designated cheat meals, rather than expecting themselves to eat everything in moderation.
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Ego depletion happens when people use up their available willpower on one task.
We all have natural urges, desires, and tendencies that demand attention. When we curb those ...
People having a high level of self-control experience better relationships and have higher achievement levels. Lack of self-control is associated with social conflict and low-grade academic performance.
Example: While following a diet regime, a person spends a lot of willpower the whole day trying to avoid junk food, but by the end of the day, all his mental energy has been exhausted, and there is no self-control left, resulting in snacking on unhealthy food.
Many emotional and physical factors contribute to ego depletion, like:
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Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior.
Nowhere is this more true than with food.
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Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis
Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower.
You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.
...to familiar environmental cues.
They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.
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... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.
A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.
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Building willpower is similar to building muscle. Continually exercising without giving yourself a break is not the best way to increase your strength or performance.
If you imagine lying on a peaceful beach, your body will respond by relaxing. If you imagine being late for an important meeting, your body will tense in response. Use this to your advantage in building willpower.
Every time that unwanted thought occupies your mind, consciously think about something pleasant instead.
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Self-control is not a quality that remains stable throughout a person’s life, similar to IQ or personality.
A person’s level of self-control tends to wax and to wane over the cou...
It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.
For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...
People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.
They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.
Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.
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Putting highly successful people on a pedestal can unknowingly hinder our own efforts. We get caught in comparisons and it’s easy to forget that they’ve had and still have their own set of struggle...
Working well is not about maximizing every waking moment of the day, in order to get more done. And the focus on maximizing time may actually diminish our creativity.
Instead, try identifying and focusing on the few hours of the day you are most productive.
To achieve sustainable productivity habits, it’s best to build up with easily achievable tasks.
Small chunks of accomplishment will amount to something big eventually.
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In the process of finding a balance between your desire to dream big and your day-to-day activities, create macro quotas.
These refer to the minimum amounts of work that...
Creating new habits that stick is easier if we make use of our current routines, instead of trying to fight them.
Use "if-then planning": choose a regular part of your schedule and then build another “link in the chain” by adding a new habit. For example: "If it is lunch time, then I will only eat meat and vegetables.”
Making repeated choices depletes our mental energy, even if these choices are mundane and pleasant.
If you want to maintain long term discipline, aim for fewer decisions during the day: identify the aspects of your life that you consider mundane and then ‘routinize’ those aspects as much as possible.
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So we should stop worshiping self-control and start thinking about diluting the power of temptation. Because resisting temptation either only has short-term gains or can be an outright failu...
Studies have shown that people that are really good at achieving their goals are not the ones that put more effort into exerting self-control in the face of temptations, but the ones that experience fewer temptations to start with.
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