Work With Your Willpower

Hand Holding Hot Dog in Napkin

Willpower is a fickle, slippery beast. It seems the more you try to hold on to it, the more it squirms and wiggles its way out of your grasp. The truth is that we all have willpower, but some of us are better able to access it when it is most needed.

Willpower takes energy, both the emotional kind and the physical (it actually depletes glucose levels in the brain). As a result of this energy expenditure, we only have so much willpower to utilize on a daily basis. You can plan ahead to set yourself up for success by limiting the times that your willpower will need to be accessed. We can generally resist temptation for a while, but can only hold off for so long.

When it comes to diet, do not keep junk foods in the home. Or, if you must keep these enticing treats around, keep them out of sight. This will keep your willpower from being activated on a frequent basis and leave it for when it is really needed.

How else can you structure your immediate environment to reduce the strain on your willpower?

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Responsible Leadership

I got into an interesting conversation with my fiance the other day about Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey. Although he generally supports his political views, my partner had trouble with the concept of someone being in a leadership position (including making decisions that impact other people’s health) who does not maintain a healthy lifestyle themselves.

Christie at a town hall meeting in Union City,...

Christie at a town hall meeting in Union City, New Jersey February 9, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first reaction was indignation. After all, a person’s BMI says nothing about their character or their intellect. Someone’s exercise habits do not reflect their dedication to their job or their ability to make sound decisions. However, in Chris Christie’s case, it’s not just about weight. He has been open about the fact that he struggles with making healthy lifestyle choices.

My fiance then posed the following question, “As a teacher, do feel obligated to maintain a healthy lifestyle since you are an influence on your students?”

Interesting.

I had never thought about my own health in this way before. Yes, I consciously teach my students (directly and indirectly) about health and wellness. We take jumping jack or stair sprint breaks. We hold push up contests. We dispel myths about nutrition and fitness. We discuss my dietary choices and I teach them about food. I talk about my races. I share how much fitness has enhanced my life. I encourage them to be healthy through these conversations and my modeling good lifestyle choices.

But, as a teacher, am I responsible for being a healthy role model? Should that be an implied part of any contract for someone who is in a leadership role (including parenting!)?

Perhaps not, but it is good to remember that, whether we signed up for it or not, others are looking at our actions and learning from our choices. When you make healthy decisions, you are also helping others become healthier as well.

As for Chris Chistie, I applaud him for being willing to openly discuss his struggles with weight loss. I hope that he can find a place of health – for himself, his family and his constituents.

Create Your Own Advertising

We are constantly bombarded with messages from food companies about what they think we should be eating. They paper our computers, televisions, billboards, and even our t-shirts with their messages. Do you give your messages the same about of space and attention?

A Hamburger, fries, and a coke from a fast-foo...

A Hamburger, fries, and a coke from a fast-food restaurant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do we give the power to decide what we read, see, and hear over to others? Why do we let huge corporations tell us what to eat? Try taking control of your own advertising; surround yourself with the messages that you want to read, see, and hear.
Think like a marketer; how can you place reminders and suggestions in your environment that will encourage you to consume the foods that you want to eat? Can you display fruits and vegetables (or at least pictures of them) in your kitchen? Can you organize the display cabinet marauding as your pantry to showcase the healthiest foods? If you’re prone to stops at fast food restaurants, can you create your own healthy mini-billboard in your car to encourage you to make better choices?

podboard
Be your own advertiser and take control of what you consume. No new degrees required.