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What is Willpower?

Everyone says I want more willpower. “I want the willpower to eat better” or “I want the willpower to stick to my workout program.” If only self-control was that easy!

Willpower or “a lack of willpower” is often ranked in research polls as the number 1 reason why people don’t make the lifestyle changes they want to. How many people do you know who have sworn off fast foods, or bread, or soda and give in just a couple of weeks later? Or who start an exercise program to only quit several months later because “life got complicated”? There’s always an excuse as to why they went back to their old habits.

The Fall of Willpower

Consider the fact that willpower is similar to a muscle. You can definitely deepen it, but it can only take so much. All day long you come up against people and things that are going to test you. With social media, you can see pictures 24/7 of those same things you are trying to avoid. Just checkout Pinterest and the photos of beautiful food and recipes are never ending! This creates a test for most of us!

Food alone is not the only thing you use willpower for in your days. Often, we balance willpower with thoughts of making purchases at the clothing store or buying those great new shoes. There are even times when you have to decide about going to the gym when you receive an invitation to the movies or going out. When we choose wrong, we feel terrible. We have self-doubt, we are negative, we lack motivation, and many people believe they lack the discipline and determination to reach their goals.

Use Your Power

Focusing too much on what we can’t have (those potato chips) or what we can’t do (like binge-watch Netflix when we should be at the gym). Too many restrictions can increase the prompt for those “can’t do” things.  Instead, release some of the strictness and concentrate on what you can have. Setting good habits that give you positive feelings about what you are doing is the better plan. Willpower is obsessive, and we put too much pressure on it to save us. Use your own abilities to make good educated choices, and willpower will fit right in.

Balance

Find balance! Tell yourself you’ll binge-watch Netflix after you do your 30-minute workout, or you’ll have a glass of wine instead of a piece of bread when you eat out. Believe it or not, this kind of negotiation with yourself works and you won’t feel like your depriving yourself. In the end, you’ll be happy that you still got to indulge a little!

We put way too much stock in willpower with all the temptations around us. When you do give in to your temptations, brush it off and get back on track. Remember, when you make you smart choices, you will be much happier!