It’s the middle of March and there’s about a 50% chance your New Year's resolutions are dead and forgotten. For those of you that are sticking to their goals and the plan they so optimistically laid out, I commend you. But for the rest of us, this is the time of year we need a little extra boost.
The truth is, forming a new habit is hard and takes time. In fact, research shows that 50% of people will drop out from an exercise programs within the first 6 months. Since 32% of you have weight related goals I want to arm you with this mental hack to keep you on track (rhyme not intended).
What is Precommitment
Precommitment is making a decision ahead of time to remove future bad choice options and increasing your chance of success. Precommitment helps increase your willpower and impulse control because the decision is already made.
*Note* If you want to know everything you could possible know about the current state of willpower research I strongly recommend you check out this amazing article from Habitry.
How will precommitment help me?
Precommitment takes two main forms, preparation and explicit declaration.
Assume your future self is lazy - Mike Torres
Without direct attention it's easy for life to get in the way and sabotage our well intended goals. Preparation is the first weapon we wield against this obstacle. Instead of waiting and letting impulse rule, you can take action in advance to set yourself up for success.
example of preparation
Obstacle: No time to go to the gym.
Obstacle: Too tired after a long day to workout.
Precommitment: Pack your gym bag the night before so you can go to the gym before work or on your lunch hour.
Precommitment: Sign up for personal training and pay in advance.
*Note* Gym buddies are great for this so you know someone else is counting on you to show up.
Obstacle: It’s hard to eat healthy because by the end of the day you’re exhausted and order-in because you don’t feel like cooking.
Precommitment: Plan the week’s meals ahead of time and dedicate one day a week (usually Saturday or Sunday) to grocery shopping and meal prepping (cooking in bulk). Now when you get home and feel a little lazy you have a healthy meal ready to heat up and enjoy.
Obstacle: I often get hungry between meals and resort to bad snacks.
Precommitment: Make sure you have healthy snacks handy so you aren’t walking to the vending machine like a zombie when hunger strikes.