Why Wait Till the New Year? 5 Ways You Can Build Your Willpower To Lose Weight


Weight loss takes willpower, and tapping into your willpower is a good skill to practice at any time, not just in the New Year. Strong willpower helps you keep your New Years resolutions, but if you plan to lose weight in the coming year, you can start building your resolve right now. Here are five ways to do it:

Have a reason that fuels your willpower

If you’re planning to lose weight and start exercising regularly in the New Year, you probably have some good reasons for that choice. Those reasons are a great tool for tapping into your willpower. For example, if you want to lose weight to improve your health, make a list of all the associated benefits. Those might include fitting into more fashionable clothing, being able to do more activities you enjoy, or simply being more satisfied with your appearance. When your willpower waivers, take out the list to remind yourself of the rewards you’ll reap if you stay strong.

Focus on the big picture

Immediate benefits are good fuel for willpower, but so are rewards you’ll reap further down the road. An immediate reason for weight loss might be to improve your health, but think about the long term benefits that regular exercise and fewer pounds brings. For example, if your family has a history of diabetes, shedding some pounds and keeping them off reduces your risk of following in their footsteps. Good health means you’ll watch your children grow, and it also increases the likelihood of being around for your grandchildren. Remind yourself of those long-term rewards to keep yourself on track now and to maintain your weight loss later.

Lose weight in ways that support strong willpower

One of the hardest parts of losing weight is giving up foods you enjoy. Weight loss boils down to eating less and moving more, so don’t totally eliminate those favorite foods from your diet. It’s easier to stick to your food plan when you’re allowed to eat things you enjoy, as long as it’s in moderation. You’ll also support a positive mental attitude that helps your will stay strong by doing regular exercise. WomensHealth.gov says that  exercise increases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that make you feel good, and also promotes more restful sleep. When you’re feeling content and well-resisted, it’s easier to tap into your willpower to resist temptation.

Pay attention to your mental well-being

Weight loss is a physical process, but you also need to take care of your mental well-being to maintain the necessary willpower. Excessive eating is often linked to stress or physical turmoil. The Mayo Clinic cites things like financial issues, relationship problems, and work stress as common triggers for emotional eating. Address those issues so you can focus your mental energy on your willpower rather than on debt collector calls or fights with your partner. If you have an employee assistance program at work, it’s a good place to start. If not, non-profit credit counselors can help with financial management, and your doctor or a counselor can assist with a wide variety of stressors. Once you’ve got those areas under control, it’s easier to stick to your food plan and to maintain your motivation to exercise.

Get support from others

When you’re trying to lose weight, there’s no reason to do it alone. Instead of depending solely on your own willpower, get support from family and friends. Let them know specifically what you need from them. Ask family members to be supportive of keeping unhealthy snacks out of the house or request that a friend meet you for a walk in the park instead of at a restaurant for lunch. Join a health club if you find motivation in group exercises classes. You can also join a support group like TOPS, Weight Watchers, or Overeaters Anonymous to surround yourself with others working toward similar goals. Weight loss groups typically have in-person and online meetings to allow you to fit them into your schedule and get a quick willpower boost right at your keyboard.