9 Ways to Resist Temptations
Temptations are everywhere—the temptation to snack, to skip your workout, to buy impulsively, or hit the snooze button just one more time. While we’d like to rely on willpower to help us overcome these temptations, the amount of willpower you have each day is limited. Here are some things you can do to resist a variety of temptations:
- Forget the word “can’t.” This word can have a pretty powerful (and often negative) effect on our moods when it’s a factor in a decision. Instead, try “don’t” or “won’t.” These are more empowering alternatives because they illustrate that the choice is yours, and when you resist the temptation, you’re achieving something rather than denying yourself something. It’s not that you “can’t” have dessert with lunch, it’s that you “don’t” have dessert with lunch.
- Get others involved. Work with your colleagues to bring healthier treats to meetings, or go with friends to a fitness class. When the people in your life are also involved in healthy choices, it can make it easier to prevent temptations, rather than trying to overcome them.
- Keep food temptations out of sight. You know the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”? It’s easier to avoid candies and treats when you can’t see them and therefore don’t think about them. At home, keep food in the pantry or cupboards, rather than on the counter. If there are candies or treats at work or at home, keep them in containers or boxes that you can’t see through.
- Consider your schedule. If your after-work activities are unpredictable and fluctuate by the day, chances are you’re often tempted to skip your evening workout to accommodate other activities. If that sounds like you, try doing your workout first thing in the morning or during your lunch hour. That way you won’t be tempted to skip it in the evenings. Do what makes the most sense for your schedule.
- Plan ahead. If you’re trying to work out or eat a healthy breakfast in the morning, but you’re tempted to sleep in, prep what you can the night before. Set out your workout clothes, or sleep in them. Get your breakfast ingredients together and make you’re your kitchen is clean. Planning ahead can make resisting temptation later on a little bit easier.
- Remove the temptation. Sometimes, a temptation is just too tough to pass up. When that’s the case, remove it. If you’re often tempted to eat ice cream before going to bed, don’t buy ice cream. Resisting temptation is easier when giving in to it would be really inconvenient.
- Find distractions. When you find yourself tempted to do something that goes against your health goals, find a better distraction. This works well if the distraction is something that you enjoy and can do or think about anywhere. If you can focus on something other than your temptation, you’re off to a good start.
- Make the most of your morning. Since your willpower is strongest in the morning, try to deal with the toughest temptations then. You won’t always have control over this, but when you can, use your mornings to help you prevent potential temptations. Make meals ahead of time, exercise in the morning, do you grocery shopping in the morning, walk your dog—do the things that you might otherwise skip if you were to wait until later.
- Come up with alternatives. In this case, think of your temptations as triggers. If you’re tempted to have a doughnut for breakfast, find a healthy, satisfying option to be your go-to doughnut alternative. That way, when you crave a breakfast doughnut, you can look forward to your healthier option.