Winter willpower

22. November 2015 Food, Winter 0
Counting down the final days of autumn

Yesterday morning, I planned on going for a long run, after an unhealthy and inactive week. I woke up around 7:30 and laid in bed for the next half hour or so, scrolling through news feeds and weather forecasts while deciding if I should still drag myself outside. It just started to get really cold this week and the forecast said it was raining at the moment.

I rolled my now-sluggish self over to the other end of my bed and reached for the window shade to get my first peek of daylight. Immediately, I gasped out loud and said, “SNOW!” with a childlike tone of awe that made me feel slighlty ridiculous. Still, I was excited about my first snowfall as a Londoner, so I ran out to the balcony and watched the flurries fly by. It only lasted a few minutes before it turned to light rain, which soon dried up to make for a clear remainder of the day.

The conditions were now suitable for a run, but I was suddenly craving for some comfort food, hot tea, and holiday shopping. I told myself I’d first have a productive day of errands, and then come back to a warm, indoor run at the gym. It started off quite promising… I had tea and breakfast at home, did my laundry, wrote a friend’s letter of recommendation, and then left the house to do some quick shopping for winter wear. Sounds like a productive start, right?

For further context, my breakfast was an Oreo cheesecake cronut–and that’s when I knew my day would not end well.

One bad decision leads to another, and when I have an unhealthy morning, it’s typically a downward spiral from there. That day, my planned salad lunch turned into a bowl of rich, spicy tonkotsu ramen at an overpriced hipster ramen bar in Soho. My energizing afternoon tea turned into a blueberry tea latte accompanied by a slice of banana Nutella loaf that I knew would not even taste that great. I later resisted the tempting scents of warm donuts and waffles as I walked through the massive Winter Wonderland festival in Hyde Park, but I still gave in to the mulled wine I had been craving all week. Finally, I returned home with no time or energy left for a workout. But at least I saw some pretty Christmas lights.

Christmas lights help alleviate the shopping anxiety. They’re everywhere 😍

A photo posted by @raisaveuc on

I’ve been trying to instill the habit of spending less time on non-critical decision-making. That means planning ahead for a specific task or routine (an 8AM run, a low-sugar breakfast, a greens-filled lunch, etc.) and sticking to the schedule without giving it an extra thought. Every minute spent laying in bed deciding whether you should change up your plans, and every minute spent walking around in the cold looking for a more comforting lunch option, is a minute wasted on unnecessary re-planning of your seemingly foolproof game plan. When you waste your time and brain power on these trivial decisions, it slowly drains your energy and willpower for the rest of the day. That willpower sure would have come in handy yesterday.

I made sure today was different. I woke up without stalling, bundled up for the cold weather, and ran to the park for an intense session with Nike Training Club. It was not easy doing those burpees in the mud, high-knee sprints up the hills, and modified push-ups with a fractured forearm, but I finished feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

I already have a busy week planned ahead, so I’ll try to keep up with this practice of minimizing last-minute decisions as best I can. I told this to myself weeks ago, but maybe getting it down in writing will make me actually stick to it.

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