Hey there, welcome back to another episode of JRCTV. Today we’re focused on how to strengthen and improve your willpower.
So what is willpower?
(We have a brilliant worksheet below for you to boost it!!)
Willpower is the ability to look right into the eyes of temptation. Something that’s challenging you, that pulls you on track and says “Hey, choose me, choose me”. Well that’s temptation – a physical temptation, an emotional temptation, a dietary temptation, a relationship temptation or I don’t know what you want to call it – but it’s something you know that is not good for you, is not good for others, and it does not serve the greater good of humanity.
You stare that thing right in the eye and say “You know what, I’m going to choose a better option today. I’m going to choose something that is good for me. I’m going to choose something that is good for others and does serve humanity overall”. A class 1 experience is how we like to refer to them at Performance Coach University. But with that thought, you choose a class 1 experience.
How do you improve your willpower?
According to researchers, the number one area of your mind and body you need to take care of if you want to enhance your willpower is your prefrontal cortex. What’s that? That gray matter in front of your brain. Now how do you improve this area? It’s pretty simple! Sleep, nutrition, exercise and being mindful of decision fatigue.
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Today we’ll focus on the first three categories, let’s start with sleep real. Remember the interview with Shawn Stevenson? He wrote a book called Sleep Smarter, and in this book he describes why sleep is so important. How some of the greatest athletes and peak performers on Earth: Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Serena Williams – they all sleep anywhere between 8-12 hours a night. Why?? Because they want their mind, their motion, and physical body to perform at its absolute best.
Now whenever I talk to clients who are entrepreneurs, successful business owners, executives in different companies, inevitably they tell me “Well yeah, if I was competing in the Olympics or at that level, of course I would sleep that much to rebuild my body”. I say “Listen, there’s a mindset piece that’s out of place here. You don’t believe that you going to work every day is the equivalent of your Olympics. If you don’t believe that there’s a gold, silver or bronze rating every single day on your performance of how you show up, you have to adjust your mindset”.
Because the truth is, whenever you go to work every day, that’s your Olympics. You get to decide if you’re going to win, get a gold and come in first; or if you’re going to settle for second, third or for the memory you were there that day. Like all those other people we don’t remember who came and ran, those wonderful human beings. The challenge is life or words, those who really really, really push themselves and excel at the highest level. So are you going to show up in that way.
So for the first thing called sleep, the minimum levels you need to perform at your best is at least 7 ½ to 8 hours a night. So grab a copy of our worksheet and you can kind of rate yourself on how you’re doing in these following categories. We’ll give you a worksheet with all the scales on it. So for sleep – a negative 10 meaning you’re getting less than 5 hours of sleep at night, that’s horrific for you.
(download the worksheet below to really maximize this area!)
There’s research and study that show that after 3 nights in a row of getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep per night, is the equivalent of not sleeping at all for 2 days, which is the equivalent of being drunk cognitively in your brain. So you don’t want that. So that’d be a negative 10.Zero would be in between 5-7 hours of sleep per night.
It’s enough to survive but not enough to really thrive. And maybe a 5-10 rating between the next so many chunks of time in 15 minute segments, 10 would be between 8-10 hours. Ideally though you’d probably be 7 ½ which would be like 9 – really, really well. So that’s what we’re aiming for here, this is how we scale you to know where we need to get better at this.
Now from there, if you’re getting your 7 ½ to 8 hours of sleep every single night for those entrepreneurs or executives out there, the next part is nutrition. Here’s what’s wild: you can read 20 different books on nutrition and get 20 different opinions, plus the newest fad of quick abs or super slim diet or the maximum whatever diet that just came out. What’s wild is we know there are some staples. The staples are that you need to make sure you’re not eating processed foods, you’re not eating high sugar foods, you’re only eating green vegetables and some type of protein that goes with them.
Now I like fish so I stick with either clean salmon or white fish, with no mercury or other toxins, and always line cut fresh. With vegetables, when you stick them together, this provides for great performance mentally and physically. They have lots of great fats for your brain, and are also very healthy. But again, make your own decision in this area; just make sure you’re choosing the right options and we all know the difference.
If you’re reaching for snacks and candy bars from the machine at work when you go to grab a snack in between meetings, that’s horrific for you. Make better choices, come up with a plan and organize your system to make sure you always have proper fuel – high quality, high performance fuel for yourself throughout the day.
The next piece we want to do here is exercise. What does this need to be? Well, you need a minimum of 10,000 steps a day according to doctors and that’s for the average person. Now I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a household where trying to be average was a horrific statement and goal. Therefore, you need to step up above and beyond. 10,000 is a minimum you should be hitting every day. So one thing we like to use is this little Fitbit band that tracks our steps.
So far today I’m at 10,770 steps for the morning. Now what’s interesting is we use this to track and measure our performance. So you need at least 10,000 steps a day, 7 days a week. The other factor that you want to focus on and consider here is you want to also track your heart rate. This is so important because some people might get their 10,000 steps in, but you never actually exercise your heart, which is kind of what keeps your whole body going and breathing.
So if you want to keep your heart in great shape and lower your risk from heart attack, from coronary disease and these things, you need at least 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise; I would say a minimum of 5 days a week. So for a minimum of 5 days a week, go out there and get in your 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise.
(download the worksheet below to really maximize this area!)
That means the heart rate is elevated to an aerobic pace suitable for your age and body. How do you get that? Just google aerobic heart rate and it’s usually 180, minus your age, which gives you the number you’re aiming for. If you have one of these little jab ons or app ins or Fitbits or whatever you want to call them, the neat part is they have apps that tell you what your heart rate is. And they tell you how many minutes of the day you were able to stay in that fat burning zone, aerobic zone and max heart rate. It’s a really great way to measure it.
So that’s the other thing. There are times of the day you can use these habits that’ll help keep you at your best even when you’re in a weak moment. So when’s a weak moment? They say if you don’t get enough sleep, what happens is because the sugar cannot get up to your brain, you didn’t have enough time for your whole body to regenerate, so you start to reach for more sugary foods later in the evening.
So think back to a night when you didn’t sleep very well, and the next day, what was the likelihood you reached for some type of snack at late afternoon or in the evening when you were getting tired? A little ice cream bar, a little candy bar, a little something for when you wanted some sugar?Usually that’s a sign you’re not sleeping well enough.
And the other piece you want to do here is you want to pre-plan routines for the later times when you’re highly stressed at work or in life. What does that mean? You want to build a routine, with a natural cue that will go off. So if we look at routines, the best way to do them is in the book Habits by Charles Duhigg.
In this book, he talks about building a routine or a habit, a good habit. It needs a trigger or a cue, so you can use the time of day as your trigger. 7 at night, 8 at night – that’s your trigger, your cue to say “Oh, what’s the routine?” I stand up, I go to the kitchen, and I prepare myself some healthy, genuinely, filling and nutritious meals.
Whether that’s a nutritious snack, a handful of unsalted nuts, or whether it’s a protein shake, something that’s very, very healthy for you, some supplements such as those orange juices you can drink like the little vitamin C packs or some green and veggie juice. We like amazing grass lemon grass flavor, it’s very good for you.
Veggies mashed up in a powder, you put on water and drink it. Something that you have pre-set up at the time you always do it, so that you’re naturally getting the reward, which is the third step to a habit: cue, routine, reward. Cue – a certain time of day, 7 at night when you always reach for the junk food.
Routine – stand up, go to the kitchen and get that vegetable juice or green drink. Reward – you satiate your stomach and brain with something healthy and nutritious before your body has a chance to reach for the not-so-great thing that’s going to take you out of the game tomorrow and bring you down in that cycle.
So that’s the other piece; you want to build a habit around the times that you’re weak. Some people are weak in the morning, some people are weak at midday, some people are weak at night. Figure out when your weakest point is on the worksheet today, figure out when your weakest point is and come up with 3 different routines you can do that’ll be healthy, nutritious and will literally vitalize your mind and body instead of something that’ll tear you down and take you out of the game, causing you to feel worse tomorrow.
Have fun with this. Download the worksheet. Figure out how to maximize your sleep, there’s a couple of sleep tips in that worksheet. Figure out how to maximize your nutrition, there’s a handful of nutrition tips in the worksheet. Figure out how to maximize your exercise. Again, we put a couple of tips in that worksheet. And finally, figure out how to build a powerful habit to offset the weak points.
Have fun with this and we look forward to seeing you next week for another episode of JRCTV.
To your success,