HUMAN BEINGS ARE WIRED FOR PLEASURE AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION
I will tell you a secret. Human beings are wired for pleasure and instant gratification. Nobody is really looking forward to making sacrifices or giving up on things like chocolate, wine, comfort food or sweating at the gym, which makes it very difficult to create and maintain healthy lifestyle changes.
Willpower is also not enough to sustain change. It is a muscle that tires easily and won’t last long. Relying too much on willpower will drain your energy and will detract from other important goals and tasks in your life.
So how can you make positive changes that bring you towards a healthier lifestyle? How can you find the motivation to finally change your habits? I will give you a few tips.
INTERNAL MOTIVATION VS EXTERNAL MOTIVATION
So let’s say that you want to lose some weight. My first question to you would be: why? Is this your true wish and desire or it is something that you think you should do or that has been advised by someone, like your doctor?
Is it something you should do or something you want to do?
Understanding the real reasons for your choices and goal setting goes a long way into how effective your strategy will be.
LONG TERM GOALS VS SHORT TERM GOALS
Human beings are wired for instant satisfaction. The willpower that we mentioned earlier, and that can support your initial changes, will last for a while, but won’t last forever. This is why a lot of people relapse and then feel bad about themselves chipping that confidence and motivation away.
So the trick is to adjust your focus.
Instead of focusing on a long-term goal, like ” I want to get healthy so as to reduce the chance of getting lifestyle diseases” ( that feels like a long way to go and a lot of effort and willpower to support that effort) focus on shorter to medium term benefits, and keep that long term goal as a sense of direction, the “intention” you want to set going forward. This should make you feel grounded and give you a sense of purpose while being able to celebrate those little medium-term victories along the way to keep you happy and motivated.
For example, let’s say that you want to improve your diet and lose 6 kg (roughly a stone). For many people, this will mean quite a bit of time and quite a few changes.
A quick example..
So instead of focusing on the long-term goal ( the 6kg weight loss) try focusing on short-term benefits that are easier and quicker to get. Could focus on finding more energy in your everyday life or maybe sleep better? Or maybe simply feel that trousers are a bit looser on the waist? These are benefits that are quite easy to achieve in the short or medium term so can you look forward to those few lifestyle changes because the rewards are tangible, easier to get, and reasonably quicker to get.
FOCUS ON THE BENEFITS
Can you then find more short & medium-term benefits of this course of action, of this journey you want to go to? Focusing on the benefits and your little achievements will help reconnect with your internal motivation, which is what can sustain you in a long way.
VISUALIZE, FEEL, SAVIOUR
Can you then visualize the benefits that come with the achievement of one or two of these short/medium goals? How would that make you feel? How can you imagine your life changing for the better if you could have let’s say more energy or finally sleep better and be more rested? Visualize those benefits, and say them aloud. Write them down. Saviour them.
Write those benefits down if that helps, make a list, and put it somewhere where you can see it to read and remind you when you feel that you are losing focus.
By moving the positive gratification forward, you are working within your own in-built rewards system, not against it. Our reward system is connected with our motivation and it is an integral part of establishing new habits, helping us rewire our brain.
There are many tools that can help you to rewire the brain and those neural patterns that help you maintain those automatic behaviors: your habits.
Follow my next blog post for more tips…
WORK WITH ME
Are you an individual looking for some positive lifestyle changes and feel that you may need some help? Get in touch for an explorative phone or video call to see if health & wellness coaching could be for you, or comment below or on my social media if you have a question. I will be happy to answer to you!