I pride myself in having pretty decent willpower - I can get myself to do just about anything. However, I've also come to realize that willpower is not infinite. I can't will myself to exercise and eat healthy and sleep and work and call my parents and everything like that every day on sheer grit alone. If I'm smart, I'll find ways to make the stuff I want to be doing take less willpower, so I can use that willpower for things that can't be made as easy. It's like creating desktop/keyboard shortcuts on your computer - if you're lazy, why not be lazy for a good cause?
For instance: exercise.
- Exercise is good for me.
- I am a lazy bum.
- I will go to the gym on a regular basis and do intensive, planned workouts starting right now!
- I will do a daily hardcore bodyweight routine at home at a set time, starting right now!
I run out of willpower about... uh... on day 2.
- I like to dance; turn on good music when doing chores and move around as actively as possible while, say, folding laundry. (This actually works pretty well - stack socks on the sofa and shirts on the bed and pants on the kitchen counter and so forth, and sprint! to place each item there as you fold it, and you get a decent interval workout, and clean clothes.)
- Swap desk chair for exercise ball. It's bouncy, I'm already sitting on it, I might as well move around and have fun. To my surprise, I end up doing abdominal crunches and back stretches multiple times a day now.
- Hang pull-up bar on bedroom/office door; every time I walk through the door in either direction, I need to (try to) do a pull-up.
- Et cetera. (I still need to figure out how to, for instance, make music automatically play during typing breaks so I'll be far more tempted to get up and move for 3 minutes rather than just "uh, I'll refill my water bottle now.)
Basically, if I use my environment rather than my brain's short-term memory to remind me to exercise, and build it into the environment such that it takes pretty much zero added time/effort to do so, I'm a lot more likely to be more physically active.
- Healthy food is good for me.
- I am a lazy bum.
Solution: Only shop for healthy stuff and cook in "save lots o' leftovers" batches so that the most convenient food option at any given point in time is to open the fridge and eat a Healthy Thing (because driving to the burger place takes so much time). Bonus: cheap!
It's kind of like learning a new language by immersion - you can't not learn Chinese if you're in China and you're surrounded by Mandarin speakers and it's easy for you to look at something and see Chinese and stammer broken sentences to people. This isn't a groundbreaking thought by any means, but it's something I've been tinkering with over the past few days and thinking about, so I'm popping it out here partially as a reminder-note to myself about this strategy I'm trying (because I know I'm going to forget it later on).