If you want something bad enough, sacrifices and mental changes are essential. Re-wire your brain and make healthy eating and exercise habits by being mindful and adopting the following solutions.
Tap Into Your Head
Hack into your own brain and emotions. Through inspection, you can identify what’s preventing you from being the best version of your future self. Your brain thinks of your future self as a different personsomeone you haven’t met yet. This person, your future self, has to deal with the consequences of today’s actions, which is why it’s always easier to tell yourself, “I’ll eat healthier tomorrow” or “I’ll stop smoking next week.”
Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct,” explains that different parts of the brain light up when people think about their future selves and other people. The same areas of the brain light up for people who, without a connection to their future selves, think about their future selves and other people. Because they associate their future self with strangers, these individuals are disconnected from their future selves.
Connect with and take care of your future self by tapping into your brain and becoming more future-minded. As described by NYTimes.com, “our connection to our future selves can have an impact on lots of important decisions we make right now about our lives.” Imagine what you’d look like years down the road using free apps such as Age My Face, Make Me Fat or Skinny. Placing yourself in a future-driven frame of mind can motivate you to break bad habits today. Even the funniest pictures of your future self can influence you to make changes now.
Practice Mind Over Matter
Replace bad habits with good ones by not giving into the brain’s reward system. A Stanford University experiment focused on willpower and the brain. One group in the study was asked to memorize two digits and the other group had to memorize seven digits. Then they were given a choice of cake or fruit salad. The group that memorized the larger number were “nearly twice as likely” to go for the cake. Jonah Lehrer, author of “How We Decide,” explains that “raw sensual appetite” easily overrides the reasonable and rational part of the brain, as reported by NPR.org. Stay committed to your diet and health regimen. On particularly strenuous workout days, you do not “deserve” a cookie.
Besides the gym, there are many fitness options for adopting a healthier lifestyle. Nike + Kinect works with PS3 and Xbox 360 to carefully track your progress and help design daily workouts that suit your fitness goals. Programs like P90X can also help you integrate a serious workout into your daily routine. Conquering the mechanisms in your brain can make progress less difficult. Tackle your brain and then you can persevere and achieve your goals for being a better you.