When we are attempting to make a major change to our lifestyle, whether it’s a new food plan or added exercise, we are most likely doomed from the start if we think the only way to achieve success is through willpower.

In this article, Liz DiAlto, a fitness and lifestyle coach, explains why willpower stinks!

Diet and exercise programs have been telling us for decades that we need to use our willpower to push through the discomfort that these programs often create. They are telling us that, with willpower, we will succeed.

But Liz DiAlto says that’s just setting us up to fail from the start. Why? Relying on willpower alone is “like paddling upstream against the current. It's exhausting, counterintuitive and a much more difficult approach,” she says. If that’s the case, then what do we do to succeed when making healthy changes that are difficult?

Tips to Make Successful Lifestyle Changes

Here are a few tips:

Simplify. Simplify your goal and try to identify what stresses you out and causes you to fail. Identifying what those stressful issues are can help you to figure out how to lessen that stress and help you to succeed.

Do what you enjoy. You will probably find that your willpower fails you most when you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy. Exercise is important but it doesn’t have to be at a gym. Find something you enjoy doing, like walking or bike riding, and use that as your exercise. No willpower needed!

Motivate yourself. Why are you changing your diet or adding exercise? If the answer is to lose 10 pounds then you’re more likely to fail than if your goal is deeper. Set a goal that will motivate you to continue. For me, a goal might be as simple improving my health. That’s a good goal!

Remember: Don’t try to change your lifestyle overnight. Pick one of the items above and work on that before moving to the next. Kick that willpower to the curb and take control.