Every person is unique. We are all going to have different goals, often very…
How To Maintain Self-Control Over The Long-Term
A lot of guys will lose weight for a while and be super motivated for a while; noticing the scale dropping, the belt loosen and the face sharpen, and life is great.
But diets tend to get harder with time. Life tends to get in the way. People tend to get in the way. And here’s the biggest problem:
Motivation doesn’t last forever.
It’s easy to make fat loss progress when you’re incredibly motivated and feel like it. But what about when you’re not feeling it?
You need discipline and self-control, at least over the long-term. Today I’m going to go into detail in regards to the factors you have direct influence over – both internal and external – and how screwing up any ONE of them, could lead to you seriously messing up your self-control over the long-term.
Let’s begin with the external (as these are these easiest to screw up):
External Self-Control Factors
These are going to be external things. Things you should consume (or shouldn’t). Things you should do (or shouldn’t do). These are actions to perform outside of your own head – the internal stuff is coming in a minute.
Get any single one of these wrong in a major way, and it’ll be next to impossible to stay controlled and disciplined over the long-term.
In no particular order:
It’s a well known saying: “You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty.”
And it’s true for a lot of people. There is no solid concensus on exactly how much you need to drink per day, but remember that the bigger you are, the more active you are, and the more protein you eat, the more water you’re going to need to stay hydrated.
Personally, I drink A LOT. About 5.5 – 6 liters of water per day.
It keeps you not only hydrated, but your stomach tends to be fuller throughout the day too – very important.
Next up is sleep. Americans are even worse for this than Europeans, and my guess is that it’s the ‘go getter’ culture (which I’m completely on-board with). The problem is when this workaholic culture then directly states (or indirectly implies) that sleep isn’t important. That’s a lie. A VERY big one.
A lack of sleep is one of the biggest causes of stress related illnesses and plummeting testosterone in Men Over 40 over the long-term, and in the short-term I can tell you that the fastest way to binging on sugar and crap is to get less than 5 hours of sleep.
The vast, vast majority of people are going to need at least 7 hours per night. I personally need 8-9 to be completely optimal.
Men Over 40 – if you want a program designed to optimise your physique, keep your stress levels down, and testosterone up, check out the 007 program.
Alcohol is an obvious one. If you’ve ever had more than 3-4 drinks, you know that your inhibitions start to plumment, and with it, so does your diet adherence. All of a sudden you stop caring, and just want to party and have a good time.
And it’s not just whilst you’re intoxicated that you’ll lose self-control, it’s also the next day when you’re hungover (even if it’s very minor).
Alcohol has to be one of the biggest causes of long-term energy loss, lack of motivation, and loss in self-control. The key is to pick your battles, and keep the frequency down.
I’ve spoken a lot about sugar on Twitter – specifically, stay the hell away from it. But I always get the follow up question of: “What about fruit, isn’t that still sugar?”
Yes, but it’s not addictive. What I’m really talking about is processed crap that makes you instantly want to ingest 10,000 calories. Apples will never be addictive. Oranges will never be addictive. You have one, and you’re good. Fiber plays an important role with all this.
Now, addictive forms of sugar will absolutely ruin your diet. As soon as that crap hits your taste bude, you’ll instantly want to eat your bodyweight in whatever the stuff is.
If you want to nail down all of these external factors withint the context of an Intermittent Fasting eating system, check out the IF meal plans here.
Internal Self-Control Factors
Next up you’ve got the internal factors, which are essentially ways you can manipulate your brain into being more focused and less distracted.
I find that the best way to implement these techniques is every morning (or almost every morning), because this usually sets the tone for your day, and will prevent you from being sucked into the whirlwind of Fakebook, Instagay and generally being pulled about all over the place by the external world.
You need to begin each day in control and in command.
Remind Yourself Of Your Goals
To learn exactly how you should be setting goals in the first place, you seriously need to read this. “I want to be healthier” just isn’t good enough.
Once you’ve done this, you need to keep these in your mind at all times. Your fitness goals should guide every decision you make. They should encourage you to say ‘no’ to other people and foods when appropriate. They should keep you pushing through the hunger and through the fasting period. They should prevent you from going off the rails.
In order to achieve this internal state long-term, you need to be reviewing these written goals (paper, phone or laptop, doesn’t matter) every day. There should also be motivating pictures that you have in your bedroom/bathroom/kitchen/car that serve to remind you of WHY you’re eating/training this way.
Review your goals constantly, be motivated by visuals constantly, and your brain will be programmed for self-control, and success.
Remind Yourself Of Your Pain Points
This one is a little more negative, and doesn’t need to be done as often. But it’s powerful as hell, and it’s true that pain is more motivating than pleasure.
Remind yourself of where you COULD be in 5, 10, 15 years if you don’t sort your health out. Imagine how shit your relationships, finances and overall freedom will be. Imagine how low your self-esteem will be if your appearance gets worse (which it will).
Really feel this pain. Imagine the worse case scenario (yes, even death) and feel how badly this would suck for you, and all your friends and family.
This will really light a fire up your ass from time to time, and should be used to keep you on-track and working hard.
Now if you really want to get some accountability, discipline and success with fitness over the long-term, get into the IFFT program. All levels have access to a plethora of IF podcasts, newsletters and workout programs, and Silver and Gold levels have access to one-to-one coaching, personalised packages, and coaching calls.