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TWM 32 – How to Strengthen Your Willpower Reserve Part 2: Find a Positive Distraction


How to Strengthen Your Willpower Reserve Part 2: Find a Positive Distraction

Today's Will Power Moment - 32

with Dr. James Meschino

In the last couple of videos, I’ve explained how to strengthen your willpower reserve and why you should consider doing just that. Your willpower reserve describes the optimal mental and physiological state that enables your higher self to more easily make positive, life-enhancing decisions throughout the day, amidst a multitude of daily temptations that might otherwise pull you off course. It’s the state of mind that enables you to more easily exert self-control.

Have you ever wondered why in one moment you’re able to exert self control over various food choices and get your exercise program done, and in another moment you give in to the temptation of high-fat and/or sugary foods, and skip your workout routine? it largely comes down to your willpower reserve. How can you be one person one day and a completely different person the next with respect to adherence to wellness behaviours? The answer usually comes down to the current state of your willpower reserve. When it is weak, you are weak. When it is strong, your in-the-moment willpower ability is much stronger and more automatic.

In the last video I explained that daily physical movement, even just starting with a 15-minute power walk per day, has been shown to reduce cravings and improve one’s ability to resist common temptations. So daily movement, or more preferably a daily workout routine, even if it’s very modest, is a proven way to strengthen your willpower reserve and hence, your self control.

As I’ve already stated, you strengthen your willpower reserve with the MDMS formula:

  • Movement
  • Distraction (positive distraction)
  • Meditation
  • Sleep (adequate sleep)

Today let tackle Distraction, rather positive distraction.

A positive distraction pertaining to wellness falls into two categories:

  • Things you do to avoid moments of temptation
  • Things you do to strengthen your health literacy or keep wellness top-of-mind

In a previous video I explained that you need to identify situations where you are most vulnerable to eating the wrong foods. For many people it’s sitting in front of the TV or a video screen for prolonged periods and munching on treats, as an example.

This is where it becomes important to find a positive distraction, or to do something that is altogether different, such as booking yourself into dance lessons, or going for a walk while listening to an audio book or some good music. Alternatively, learning to play a musical instrument, or keeping your hands busy with sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, or whatever your passion happens to be.

If you like to watch TV, then do what I do. Put a recombinant or upright stationary bike in front of your TV and ride at just a leisurely pace if you like. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout. This allows you to burn a few more calories rather than consuming a few more calories while watching a favourite show or two.

The other positive distraction is to read a wellness-oriented article each day. I suggest you go into the Research Review section of the Meschino Wellness Platform and read a short article, or watch a short video on a subject of interest. Or simply access your Daily Wellness Checklist on the Dashboard page of the platform and check off the wellness items you completed that day. These simple, non-time-consuming tasks help to keep wellness top-of-mind, which in turn, helps to keep you in an optimal physiological state to make wellness decisions – and they simply strengthen your willpower reserve.

Find the positive distractions that best suit your interests and your willingness to engage. They’ll help to strengthen your willpower reserve and make it much easier to consistently make wellness choices throughout the day – day after day.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


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.

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