They say those who have the strongest willpower use it the least.
In other words, when decision fatigue is minimised, it’s easier to make good decisions.
The Atomic Habits system, explained beautifully by James Clear (3) is an effective, easy to understand way to start doing the things you set out to do habitually and consistently.
There are four ways you can change your likelihood of doing something.
- Visibility – If something is easy to see, it’s more likely that you’ll engage. If you leave your exercise clothes hanging outside your cupboard, you won’t forget to exercise. If you hide the cookie jar away, you won’t grab one every time you go past.
- Accessibility – If the cookie jar is in the cupboard, and the cupboard is locked, and the key is at the gym, you’ll eat less cookies. If the gym you want to go to is too far away, you’re probably going to miss sessions. If you can find something nearby or on your commute to and from work, you’re a lot more likely to stick.
- Attractiveness – If you enjoy going to the gym, the vibe, the workouts, it’s easier to go there than to drag yourself to a boring, slow yoga class. The opposite is also true! Do what you enjoy. Personalities are a big factor here, find a place you feel like you belong.
- Satisfactoriness – Donuts are attractive for most of us. They’re not satisfying. The less satisfying you can make something, the less likely you’ll be to do it. And vice versa. Accountability is a big one here. Nobody wants to let everybody down.
For example (including SMART goals):
- Buy a 1l water bottle.
- Make sure it is full and keep it with you.
- Get through the first liter before lunch time. The earlier the better.
- Get up to 4l. Track hydration
- Three deep breaths, once a day. Even that is enough to make a difference.
- Longer is better. Track duration.
- Eat less junk
- Prep veggies. Keeping them in the fridge front and centre will make it more likely you will grab them instead of a bag of crisps.
- Get rid of the junk food in the house.
- Prep whole meals. Prepping whole meals is better than just prepping veggies. You can prep each group (proteins, carbs and fats) separately and then combine them in different ways for variety.
- Exercise more
- Find something you enjoy (modality and community). Try four different things each month until you do.
- Commit to a coach/accountability partner check in once or twice a week.