One More Way to Win The Battle of Impulse Control
Today's Will Power Moment - 29
with Dr. James Meschino
Have you ever noticed that sometimes your “present” self wants one thing and “another part of you” wants something all together different. Or better stated this way: Your present self wants one thing, but your future self knows it would be better off if you did something else – like not eating the cheese cake in front of you, or doing today’s exercise program when you feel like watching TV instead. It’s the never-ending battle and internal dialogue between the part of you that wants to act on impulse and seek immediate gratification, and the version of us that controls our impulses and delays gratification to protect our long-term goals – like having the leaner, fitter, healthier body you know you really want, deep down.
Understand that the part of your brain that wants to give in to temptation isn’t bad – it simply has a different point of view about what matters most. And that’s the key phrase right here – What Matters Most! You have to decide, what matters most to you. Is it the immediate gratification, the in-the-moment indulgence, or the way you want your future self to look and feel, along with your health status and healthy life expectancy?
As Tony Robbins would say: In each moment we simply do the thing that avoids the most pain or we associate with bringing us the most pleasure. For me, having a healthy, fit, lean and mean body, gives me more pleasure than the pleasure I would derive from indulging in foods that I know taste good, but would sabotage the appearance and health of my body. For me, the pain associated with having a really out-of-shape body, and feeding myself foods that I know promote cancer development, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, is much more painful than the simple sacrifice of avoiding most of those foods on a regular basis and staying true to my exercise program.
As I say in my lectures, to me, the thought of a surgeon cutting through my rib cage with a chain saw so they can do by-pass surgery on my coronary vessels is much more painful than the pain of giving up eating foods that I know will clog my arteries, like beef, pork, cheese, deep fried foods, ice cream, rich pastrie, and the like. For me, the pleasure and rewards of having a healthy, fit, lean body outweigh the pleasure of a few seconds of enjoyment from eating a piece of high-fat cheese cake or a plate of French fries.
I have my small indulgences as I have outlined in previous videos, but I work to keep these things in check from day to day. So, that’s how I feel and that’s what I do.
The question is: Where do you stand on these issues? Most people surveyed say they would like themselves better and be happier with themselves if they were more engaged in wellness behaviours and had a better body than they do right now. So, in order to make better in-the-moment decisions, the question is how much leverage do you have on yourself/ How badly do you really want that better looking body? How badly do you want to be more fit and leaner? How important is to you to get your blood levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides into the ideal range to the best of your ability through nutrition and physical activity? How important is to you to build-up your defense against cancer development through diet and lifestyle, which we know can be very significant?
If you don’t want these things badly enough, if the rewards of achieving them don’t matter that much to you, then it becomes very hard to resist in-the-moment temptations. On the other hand, if you really do want a better body, better health parameters, and to reverse certain aspects of the aging process – if those things will make a significant difference to your level of happiness, self-esteem, confidence, and quality of life, then you have to connect with your image of success every day to help keep you focused and moving forward.
In the last Willpower Moment video edition, I suggested that you post a picture of yourself somewhere that is highly visible, where you will see it each day – a picture of you when you were fitter, leaner, healthier, and more vibrant than you are today. Or post a picture of a very fit person who you feel has a body you could aspire to somewhat duplicate if you stick to your wellness game-plan.
Visual images like this are very powerful anchors that trigger the feeling of inspiration, and can spur you on to the victory and success that lies ahead for you – if you keep making strides each day. So, if you haven’t done it yet, post that picture somewhere highly visible so you can get re-inspired each day, and hold that picture of your success in your mind’s eye throughout the day. I guarantee it will help you overcome some of the daily temptations, mild addictions and distractions that can so easily influence that part of ourselves that is susceptible to immediate gratification. We all have that part.
The internal battle between what brings us pleasure in the moment and what we want our future self and future existence to look and feel like will always be a challenge we face each day. It doesn’t go way. So, to help inspire yourself each day and keep you moving towards the version of yourself you know you really want, post a picture as a constant reminder of your image of success – and how the feeling of success is going to look and feel like for you. I know it may sound a bit flaky, or silly, but if you post it, I know it will truly inspire you and help to keep strengthen your resolve to conquer the in-the-moment temptations you will be faced with each day.
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!
Dr. James Meschino
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.