We make decisions all day long. From the time we wake up in the morning – what workout do I do? What breakfast do I eat? Red or neutral lips? Highway or back roads?
Every one of these is a decision, and we only have so many in a day. Think about it as a bucket of decisions or willpower, and throughout the day, that bucket starts to empty. That’s why our willpower or discipline is worse at night than in the morning. When do we typically stand in front of the fridge staring at it trying to decide what to fix? When do we reach for sugary, processed foods? When do we get into arguments or get a little testy with our family?
We are depleted.
So how do I restock my bucket?
Our willpower and discipline can be restocked by eating healthy foods with protein and fat and little or no sugar. High-sugar foods cause our blood sugar to spike. When it drops, we release stress hormones and crave more sugar.
Get more sleep.
When we’re tired, we crave those high-sugar foods, but also, we may have missed deep sleep cycles, releasing the hormones that need sleep to be produced and are running on counterfeit energy strategies, like caffeine and other stimulants.
Move and get fresh air.
Too much carbon dioxide in a room can produce cognitive deficits. Getting outside for even five minutes to take a walk (really, you can get away for five minutes) can replenish a few decisions back in the bucket.
No one has unlimited willpower. Set yourself up for success by eating the right foods before you get hangry, putting yourself to bed with an appropriate bedtime and getting outside for a nature and movement opportunity.