I don’t know about you, but I’ve kinda been struggling with my willpower as of late.
It feels like I’m just going through the motions of work and workouts and the second I have an excuse to procrastinate (my dog’s bed needs to be washed RIGHT NOW / the new season of Bridgerton is out / I just found a 4-year old video on YouTube of Taylor Tomlinson on Jimmy Kimmel I haven’t seen before) I’m on it!
And on one hand, as a recovering perfectionist, I’m trying to offer myself some grace. After all, our world has never faced so much unrest, and we are all recovering from a 2-year shake-up of everything we’ve ever known to be true! It’s no wonder my capacities feel diminished and I’m just more TIRED. I’m trying to listen to my body, and commit to less, and prioritize more downtime.
But… then as I’m deep into the vaults of old comedy on YouTube, season 4 of Lost, and ridiculous fake-gym-fails on TikTok (don’t – just don’t), I sometimes ask myself… really? Is this “self care” filling my cup? Or is this just an avoidance tactic to ignore the realities of my world and my growing to-do list…? WHY don’t I have more discipline?? WHY can’t I make myself do the things I ACTUALLY know will fill my cup and drive my goals forward??
So this morning, as I procrastinated yet again on sitting down at my desk, I looked at the sun and decided to take my dog for a walk. Because if there is one thing that always makes me feel better and gets my creative juices flowing, it’s getting outside. About halfway through, I switched from my rock playlist to Audible, and from a jog to a walk. The audiobook of the day? The One Thing – by Gary Keller.
His opening line of Chapter 6? “There is this pervasive idea that the successful person is the disciplined person who leads a disciplined life. It’s a lie. The truth is we don’t need any more discipline than we already have. We just need to direct and manage it a little bit better.”
Well, hot damn! You got my attention, Gary!
He suggests that you think about willpower as the battery on your phone. When you wake up, it’s full. Every decision you make through the day, every challenge you face, depletes the battery a little more.
This is why you wake up Monday morning committed to going to the studio after work, but by 4pm you’re late canceling your class and by 7pm you’re slumped on the sofa.
So how do we hack this willpower/discipline challenges? 3 tools:
- Reduce your number of decisions that pull brain power in a day by forming habits. Remember how Steve Jobs wore a black turtleneck every day? It was one less decision to make in the morning about what to wear. You can do the same by laying out your clothes and packing your lunch the night before, scheduling your workouts in your calendar, walking your dog at the same time every day, and making the same breakfast every morning at 7am. It takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. Stick with something for a couple months, and it WILL get easier / require less will power. (PS – if your commute / schedule / exercise routine is still feeling really hard right now, remember that it’s only been 30 days since most people went back to the office. You’re already halfway through the habit-forming stage – keep it up and it WILL get easier!)
- Check in with your energy levels throughout the day. There is no question some days are harder than others (and some days people and the world just piss you off!). You can protect your energy by tackling your most complicated / challenging tasks first, and turning off external outputs (ahem – inbox and social media – I am TERRIBLE for this and it’s a goal for me to improve!!).
- Re-charge your battery when it gets depleted. This is where those self care tools come in to play – when you hit your afternoon slump, find yourself scrolling mindlessly, or need to re-energize post-work and pre-workout, what do you know that fills your cup? A green smoothie, turning on some music, switching your work location to a coffee shop, a walk around the block, 15 minutes of yoga or stretching, or a mid-day workout (hello, 12:00 class!) can sometimes be just what you need to come back with MORE energy and willpower.
I’m going to leave you (and me!) with one more thought for the day.
TIME. It never feels like there is enough of it. It’s often the first reason we cite for not fitting in workouts, or meal prep, or those other self-care tools that we want to do but have a hard time prioritizing (especially for the parents who are juggling daycare pickups and sick days and tantrums and homework supervision – that is truly a superpower!)
But if there is one thing the pandemic taught us all (and many of our employers!) it’s that M-F 8-5 office hours are not the be-all-end-all (and truly not productive for most!)
But here is my question: If you replaced the 3pm slump / coffee run every afternoon with a mid-day workout that left you feeling energized and productive throughout the afternoon, could you actually achieve more, be a better employee, feel better, sleep better, reduce your stress, and improve job satisfaction? By working an hour less per day (and dedicating that time to true self-care), could you actually achieve MORE? That’s what the research indicates – here’s an article to send to your boss.
So my challenge to you today: what is ONE daily, healthy habit that you can focus on for the next 66 days, that will make your life easier, and you feel better?
Mine? Get up with my alarm, no snooze button, just get up! Take my morning greens and vitamins, brew a tasty cup of tea and take 5mins to myself before I sit down to start my most important task of the day.
Hit reply and let me know what yours is – I want to hear!
Jenine – Founder
PS – did you know we offer Corporate Yoga? Corporate Yoga classes are a great way to improve workplace morale, increase productivity and bring everyone together to do something fun as a group. Yoga can be a welcome break from a busy workday or a relaxing way to de-stress at the end of the day.