One Habit Better Than Willpower

Planning ahead for obstacles will dramatically improve your chances of winning in life. Major storm heading your way? Better plan an exit strategy or a way to storm-proof your house. A Christmas party with the family? Better plan an exit strategy or a way to storm-proof your house.

Fat loss is no different. You need a plan. Being successful at reaching your fat loss target or health goal is about planning in advance on how you will act when a certain situation arises.

Let me give you couple of scenarios that you might find yourself in.

Scene one. Your co-worker Walter White brings in cupcakes each Wednesday topped with his special tasty blue icing. He’s a great cook and a top-notch guy but a mean bastard in a sense of a true food pusher. You always eat three. It’s hard to say no to him (which is why you always eat three).

Scene two. On Friday afternoons you usually have couple of drinks with your mate Hank Moody but it always turns into a night of debauchery followed by three quarter pounders with cheese among other things too graphic for this blog.

You keep telling yourself how next week is different and you will say no to the cupcakes and Friday night drinks. You can do it! It’s all in the willpower. Then Wednesday rolls around and you end up eating the same three cupcakes. Mr. White is persistent. Then before you know it you wake up on Saturday morning covered in french fries.
You lack willpower and motivation. Or do you? When you put in a plan your need for willpower goes out the window.

In Eating for Life by Bill Phillips there’s this simple exercise:
What are the three biggest obstacles I am going to run into with food?
What are three structures I can put in place to overcome those obstacles?

If food is not your issue but training is, you can use the same template for planning how to get your weekly training sessions in.

Scene three. You often get disturbed by an email from your boss Michael Scott ahead of the planned training session. He truly knows how to waste your time. Before you know it work has taken over and you settle for the “I’ll train later tonight”, which doesn’t end up happening. A structure to combat the situation could be >>Train before work<< or >>Don’t work for Dunder Mifflin<<.

When crafting your plan keep in mind that planning to fight an urge and saying “no” to old, unwanted behavior doesn’t seem to work. That’s you using willpower again. The idea of the plan is that you do not need to rely on willpower in the first place.

If you plan ahead for obstacles on every Sunday before the week starts you are already closer to kicking goals with your fat loss and health than those who do not plan. That’s science. And biology. And both are awesome.

This is simple. However it takes a bit of work and most people are not willing to do the work. Don’t be “most people”.

Action Steps
– Plan for the week ahead.
– Write your plan down instead of only doing it in your head.
– Don’t plan to say “no” but rather replace the unwanted action with a better one.

Bill Phillips – Eating For Life
Josh Hillis, Dan John – Fat Loss Happens on Monday