One way to do that is by using commitment devices: strategies that help you avoid akrasia, or doing things against your better judgment. You might meal prep, for example, to avoid impulse eating. You may forgo an unlimited metro card and pay by ride instead to fit in more movement.
These tools, Zimmerman says, are important for holistic health. “The notion of willpower is a fallacy. People don’t understand that it’s actually an exhaustible resource.” Here, the commitment devices Equinox experts use to stay dedicated to their health every day.
“If my flight leaves at 8 a.m., it goes in my calendar as 7:20 a.m., when boarding begins. It’s a total game-changer. People constantly self-sabotage by refusing to give themselves enough time. I fly a lot and all the packing, Uber rides, and security lines can add up to an immense amount of stress. You might think it’d be easier to just set things in motion 45 minutes earlier and be a responsible adult, but if you know you have the flexibility, you’ll abuse it.”
-David Siik, LA-based senior manager of running for Equinox and creator of Precision Run
“My new French bulldog puppy, Alfie, forces me to have a more regular routine. His walks and feeds happen at certain hours, so I’m exposed to morning sunlight, I get more steps in, and I bike downtown every day to take care of him—sometimes in a one-hour break. The consistency Alfie brings to my routine helps me cope with my crazy 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. schedule. I have much better control over all elements in my life. My newfound, steady sleep pattern has also been the X factor in my learning to be at the top of my game at work.”
-Jacques Delaugére, Tier 3+ trainer at East 76th Street in New York City
“The nightcap is a myth—alcohol inhibits sleep. That said, beer is awesome. But since I’m not always willing to jeopardize the ultimate form of restoration, I’ve found a middle ground: I generally always have a few non-alcoholic beers in my fridge. The cold, crisp flavor satisfies my craving in a way that won’t disrupt my sleep. I’ll order a ‘non-beer’ at the bar, too. Even though people scoff, I like it. There’s a certain power to doing something people don’t understand, especially when it’s for the betterment of yourself.”
-Adrian Gaskin, Tier 3+ trainer and Equinox Fitness Training Institute master instructor at West Georgia Street in Vancouver, Canada
“I bike everywhere I can. I’ve logged 109 hours, 630 rides, 819 miles, and burned an extra 35,000 calories in just over a year because of this. It keeps me committed to making movement a priority throughout the day. Plus, I love to see the vibes of various neighborhoods transform over time as I cycle through them and I witness some cool and crazy things on the streets of New York. It reminds me of the life that’s always buzzing around us and keeps me entrenched in the city in a way I otherwise wouldn’t be. And it definitely makes me feel better about my peanut butter consumption.”
“I canceled my cable subscription. Without access to regular TV, I don’t get sucked into watching unnecessary shows, I read more books, and I’m more consistent about getting my workouts in earlier. I also keep my phone charging in my kitchen overnight so I don’t look at it first thing in the morning. By not starting my day opening work emails, I avoid the immediate anxiety of thinking about what needs to be done. Instead, I have an extra 15 to 20 minutes to relax and ease into the day.”
-Matt Berenc, Beverly Hills-based director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute
“I turn on a diffuser of essential oils every evening at 9 p.m. This helps me start winding down to prepare for sleep. Olfaction is a very strong sense that helps deliver relaxation or energy when needed, depending on the scent. For me, lavender and frankincense are relaxing. I’ve seen a drastic change in my mind and body’s ability to slow down.”
-Bethany Snodgrass, New York City-based holistic health coach and operations manager at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute
“If I’m working on consuming 30 extra ounces of water daily, my water bottle is always with me. If I’m trying to be more consistent about taking supplements, I keep them on the counter next to my coffee maker. If I want to makes sure I train, I pack my gym bag ahead of time. My brain is often pulled in 100 different directions, so the visuals help me remember everything I'm trying to do. These constant reminders aren’t high-tech, but they work. In my opinion, simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”
-Mackenzie Rae Wickliffe, Tier X coach and Equinox Fitness Training Institute master instructor at Sports Club Los Angeles