The Christmas and New Year period of eating, drinking and merriment has come to an end and you’ve gone back to the hamster wheel of the work routine. Getting up early and working a full day is really taking its toll on you, and what arrives on the doorstep at the end of the day is a burnt-out shell wondering where the relaxation of the holiday period beetled off to. Your health, fitness and weight loss routine has not even been revived by your New Year’s resolutions, and the gym ball and weights lying around the house just make you feel guilty. You’ve come off the bicycle and can’t manage to hop back on, literally. OK, fine, I confess, by you I mean me; by your, I mean my. Luckily I came across a tweet by Daniel Pink (author of my beloved “A Whole New Mind”) that is helping to prop up my withering motivation.
Daniel Pink chatted to Kelly McGonigal, Stanford Lecturer and author of the new book “The Willpower Instinct”, about making resolutions, and her views are surprising and refeshing. Please read the full article, but here is what I took away from it.
Don’t trust your future self. You are a fairly predictable being. View every choice as a commitment to your future choices. So if you are tired after work and, just for today, lie on the couch watching “That 70’s Show” reruns instead of going for a run, think of that as your behaviour into the future. Can you afford to sit on the couch every day after work instead of going for a run and still meet your fitness goals?
Instead of going mad and cutting out all chocolate, sweets and coffee (you know you will probably binge down the line) rather aim to reduce the variability. So if you normally have a slab of chocolate a day (Lindt with Sea Salt, please) aim to have only a few blocks, and keep it constant day to day. Sounds a bit like process control doesn’t it?
I’m adding “The Willpower Instinct” to my increasingly lengthy, and unrealistic, list of books to read in 2012, as I am writing this after getting off my bike from a great after-work cardio session. However, if you don’t find this motivating you, you can always get your colleagues to call you a fat bastard on a daily basis; it’s also quite effective.