How to Beat Temptation
If you struggle with willpower, studies have found that you are better off removing temptations entirely from your home.
“Precommitment,” defined as “the voluntary restriction of access to temptations,” is a “more effective self-control strategy than willpower,” say researchers, from the Universities of Cambridge in the UK and Dusseldorf in Germany, in a report published online this week in the journal Neuron.
So, considering that, let’s set look at three things we can do to remove temptations and create new healthy habits:
- First, identify your temptations. What foods/drinks are most likely to cause you to fall off the wagon? Identifying your trigger foods is a good first step. Toss the half-eaten bag of chips and donate non-perishables to a food shelf/pantry. For some people, putting items in the freezer helps. The most important thing is to put them in a place where you won’t see them or be tempted but them, even if that means throwing them away entirely.
- Next, identify your triggers. Which situations cause you to give in to your temptations? Do you lose willpower and self-control when under stressed? When bored? Hungry? If you’re not sure what your trigger situations are, keep a fitness diary. Pay close attention to when you’re craving your favorite not-so-healthy things and write down what’s going on: your mood, the situation, and then analyze what it may be that’s causing those feelings.
- Next, come up with a plan. What will you do the next time you’re faced with temptation? Replace your unhealthy coping mechanisms with new healthy ones (having a cup of green tea, going for a walk, calling a friend to chat, reading a few pages in a book, listening to music, etc.). Your new habit should address the trigger point situation itself and satisfy it in a healthier way.