Webster’s dictionary defines willpower as, “The ability to control yourself. A strong determination that allows you to do something difficult (such as to lose weight or quit smoking).” But how strong is willpower? I would like to enhance this definition of willpower so we are all on the same page on how willpower can help us, but also how it could hurt us. Unfortunately so many diets focus on the point that if you just use more willpower you can overcome any obstacle. What they are essentially saying is that it is your fault or a lack of commitment on your end that you fail at the so called “diet.” But what if I said it wasn’t your fault and that you shouldn’t feel guilty?
Willpower acts as a muscle in the body. The more we use it, the more likely it is to become fatigued allowing us to eventually cave. Willpower is a limited resource used on an unlimited number of decisions each day. By fatiguing willpower your ability to make “sane” decisions diminishes and the rebound you experience from loss of willpower will be far worse that if you weren’t trying to control that specific behavior at all. It leads you on and then dumps you right before you overcome the obstacle at hand. It vanishes right when you need it most leaving you feeling like you’re dangling from one hand off a cliff.
We shouldn’t depend on willpower, but in the short-term, it can be an incredibly powerful tool. Having self-control in some instances can be your greatest asset. But it is learning to use it to your advantage, when you need it most. One of the best uses for willpower is during the holidays. When all of those internal signals start flashing, driving you to act against your better judgement. These signals are called cravings. The problem is that they come on suddenly and can be very powerful.
Cravings hijack all control in your brain leading you to believe that you can’t survive without first satisfying that craving. Fortunately, cravings don’t have to win. We can put out the flame cravings have created, which is where willpower comes in. Think of willpower as a fire hose connected to a pool of water and cravings as a fire. We can use water to quench the flame, however the more we use water the less benefit it has and the less water pressure you have to actually put out the fire. Once you run out of water, the fire continues to burn and you give in, every-single-time to every-single-craving. Like an itch you just have to scratch. So you can see that the more you use your willpower, the less effective it is.
You must learn to use willpower cautiously and only when needed most. So what should we rely on? I challenge you to turn to the most reliable mental source there is, habits. Habits are those subconscious things you do without thinking. As you rely on those habits you can finally begin to feel free and healthier than ever. Habits require no willpower, no thought and most importantly no energy. You do it because it is a part of your routine and are rewarded accordingly. Scientists have estimated that up to 90 percent of our daily food decisions occur as a result of habits. This saves our brain’s energy for more difficult decisions where habits cannot be used.
As I said earlier, since willpower is not a good long term solution, we need to re-learn reliable measures to achieve lasting health and only then will we be better off by creating those through healthy habits instead of relying on willpower. Using habits for 90% of your decisions and relying on willpower for the other 10% will help you overcome that hurdle, to get to the top and to win this battle we call our health.
Why am I talking about willpower and how it is especially difficult during the holiday season with increased opportunity to give into cravings? That is because I have created a system where I give you daily encouragement during the holiday’s, helping you to create healthy habits that can effortlessly push you over your hurdle and focus in on the times when you need willpower to pull through for you. You will also receive a lot of other fun tips, recipes and planning help to make this a Holiday season one you won’t forget. It’s a 61 day program called Well Fed Daily.
I had officially closed the registration for this last week and have already been sending the content out, but I have received so much feedback from the first few days that I have decided to open it back up for more people to sign up. As a free gift, you will find links below to the first five days of this Well Fed Daily that you can download and look at yourself. If you are interested in signing up click here.
This is the final call to get 61 days of support, motivation and accountability this Holiday season. This only comes around once a year and I am only opening the registration up until Friday at midnight so jump in with us today!