Do you have difficulty sticking it out when you have set a goal for yourself such as losing weight, which involves eating healthier and exercise or giving up an addiction such as cigarettes.
If you do and most people do there are some mental tools that you can use regularly to increase you will power. The tools are easy to do and will dramatically improve your chances of reaching your goal if you use them and there’s the rub, using them is the easy part, remembering to use them when you are confronted by your temptation is the difficult part.
With a little preparation, beforehand you can overcome this using a technique taken from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). It’s called the Swish technique and it’s a very powerful way to trigger new behaviours that you consciously chose when confronted by your temptations instead of the standard automatic response you have now.
The first tool in the toolkit is the ability to use global processing, this means focusing on the wood rather the trees. Seeing the big picture, the end goal rather than having tunnel vision and only seeing the temptation. You need an understanding that every individual decision you make contributes to you achieving your goal. If you must cecum to a temptation then it must be planned up front and a part of your plan to reach your goal, you must never take up an impromptu temptation if you want to achieve your goal.
For example, if you’re trying to diet and you’re hungry with a large piece of cake in front of you or you’re facing resistance when you know it’s time to exercise you need to move your focus to thinking about the ultimate goal and all of the great feelings associated to that goal.
For this to work you must have a compelling enough goal, you need reasons that mean something to you if you don’t when you think of your future goal the lure of the present temptation may be stronger than the desire to reach your goal.
An example of a weak goal would be losing weight because your spouse wants you to but you’re not really that bothered about your weight.
The second tool is abstract reasoning; this is all about how you chunk the details of a particular action together. If you’re trying to do more exercise and eat less cake and you’re struggling with both, analyse how you look at each action.
For most people with this challenge eating cake is one action, you just eat it and exercise is many actions, so many in fact that it often paralyses people into not taking action. Try reversing it. If you want to stop eating cake, make it hard to do.
For example in order to eat cake I need to get out of the chair, walk all the way into the kitchen, open the cupboard, search the cupboards for cake, decide what cake I want to eat, Walk all the way to the draw to find a knife, open the knife draw, pick up the knife, close the cutlery draw, walk all the way back to the cake, open the cake box, take out the cake, walk to the plate cupboard, open the cupboard door, take out the plate, close the cupboard door, walk all the way back to the cake, pick up the knife, cut the cake, scrape all of the crumbs off the cake board. Put the cake back in the cake box, open the cake cupboard door, put the cake back in the cupboard, close the cupboard door, walk all the way to the cutlery drawer, open the cutlery drawer, take out a fork, close the cutlery drawer, walk all the way back to the cake pick up the plate, walk all the way back to the living room, sit down, cut a piece of the cake off, spill crumbs all down your dress or jumper, bring the fork up to your mouth.
With all that effort many people just wouldn’t bother getting up to get the cake, if on the other hand all you need to do in order to exercise was get changed, get the exercise machine out, put your favourite program on the TV and start exercising how easy would that be.
Become more aware of how you chunk the things you do on a daily basis, You’ll probably find that the stuff you love to do can be done in about three chunks and the stuff you don’t like to do will chunked into as many steps as possible. You have a choice on how you represent these things to yourself.
The third tool is high level categorisation; this is where you don’t get bogged down by the detail. If you’re trying to lose weight and all you can think about is the calorie content of everything you eat you can become stressed out.
If you suffer too much stress you may break and think that you can never achieve your goal if it’s going to be this hard and thereafter give up on your goal.
Always keep in mind the higher purpose, for example, when trying to lose weight the purpose is not to count calories, it’s to become slim and healthy so you can feel better both in your level of confidence and in you physical well-being. As long as you’re eating a healthy balanced diet and your overall intake of calories is less than your consumption you will continue to lose weight.
These three tools will help you immeasurably in having more self-control. Use global reasoning when you are immediately faced with a temptation, abstract reasoning when you need to motive and de-motivate behaviours and high-level categorisation to reduce your levels of stress and increase you level of self-belief in your ability to achieve your goal.