I received these tips on the Whole Life Challenge folks (www.WholeLifeChallenge.com)

I believe we have a (very) limited amount of willpower. Use it up on one thing, and it won’t be there for another.

You’ve experienced this: your day starts great, with good nutrition, sleep, and a workout. It goes downhill after a tough day at work, and by dinner, you’re reaching for beer and tortilla chips instead of a well-balanced meal, your willpower used up on the trials of the day.

Because willpower betrays us at the first sign of weakness, I’ve found that I’m best served by preparing ahead of time for those instances. Here are three things that get me through when the going gets tough.

1. The exercise calendar: I actually carve out exercise time on my calendar, first thing in the morning. An hour to do my warm-up, workout, cooldown and mobility work, written in digital. Having it on the calendar reminds me it is both a duty and a privilege to exercise, and keeps me from treating it like a less important part of my day.

2. The water bottle: hydration is a huge (and overlooked) factor in health and happiness. To match the Whole Life Challenge suggestion of ⅓ of my bodyweight in ounces (about 60 ounces for me), I carry around a 20-oz. water bottle with three rubber bands on it. Each time I finish a bottle, I remove a band, and by the end of the day, if all the bands are gone, I’ve met my prescription.

3. Write your shopping list: When I’m too tired to cook and I want something healthy (instead of succumbing to poor nutrition), how do I make sure it’s there? I write my weekly shopping list. If I’m going to eat 21 servings of protein this week, I need to actually have 21 servings on hand. If I plan to eat 10 apples over the next 7 days, I need to buy 10 apples. This is simple, and often overlooked.

I’ll be using all three of these tips liberally during the next challenge (as well as sharing a bunch more over the eight week duration). Hopefully, these will help you when the world conspires to throw you off track.

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