will power doesn't work

Why Willpower Just Doesn’t Cut It

Think of a time when you tried to exercise some willpower. Maybe you were trying to avoid eating the cookies in your cupboard? Or maybe you were willing yourself to quit smoking? Some people rely on willpower during exercise…”I will keep going for just 5 more minutes even if it kills me!”

How well has willpower worked for you in the past?

Chances are, willpower has failed you more times than it’s worked. That’s not a criticism – It’s simply a fact that our willpower is much like any muscle in the body in that it has a limited capacity and will eventually run out when we ask too much of it. Watch this video to understand why willpower is so unreliable (and watch my planking skills give out!)

So What Good Is Willpower Then?

Willpower seems so wimpy (it can’t even refuse cake while the brain works to remember 7 digits!), but it’s not completely useless either. It is just important that we set ourselves up for success by creating situations that relieve some of the mental work required to sustain willpower.

For example…

This might mean preparing healthy snacks in advance (and storing them in the fridge or cupboard) so that the hurdle of food prep doesn’t overcome your willpower when hunger strikes.


Most of us would also benefit from some self-reflection: When are you often tired, stressed, feeling drained, or under mental demand? Those are times when your willpower will be weakest. That’s why watching TV at midnight is a dangerous position to put yourself in. Tiredness that comes late at night can easily sabotage any willpower you might rely on to stay away from unhealthy snack choices (bring on this potato chips!)

What can you do to help improve the changes of willpower success?

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