Willpower - Everything you need to know

In the past, when you’ve tried to make changes to your health, did you have any setbacks?


If your answer is no, then you need to be the one writing this article… because I certainly have.  


If your answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Failing to meet your own expectations can be due to a number of things. Most commonly when we fall short of our goals it’s due to:

  • Introducing too much change at once


  • Failing to create a well thought out plans at the beginning of the change


  • Not addressing HABITS & TRIGGERS that consistently led us to undesirable actions


What is the thing that can make the big change for us and pairs PERFECTLY with habit forming?




When we want to implement lasting, positive changes to our lives, we draw on willpower… A LOT.


Want to start waking up an extra hour and a half early each morning to get a workout in?


Cue willpower.


Want to cut dairy out of your diet?


Hello willpower.


When you think of willpower, what comes to mind? Determination? Self-discipline? Resilience? Regardless of how you define it, willpower often sounds, specifically to our internal monologue, as though you’re forcing yourself to do something you really don’t want to do.


While willpower is most likely not a new concept to you, new information about it is being discovered that challenges previous notions. One’s we’ve always thought to be true about willpower.


Perfect example; is willpower a limited resource? Can it be depleted the more we use it, until we crack? The common answer previously, has been yes. It’s exactly “the reason” why you follow your health and fitness plan to a “t” during the week and then Friday night rolls around and you can’t not order that margarita and queso dip while out with friends (that would just be rude, right?).


Current research is actually telling us that willpower as a finite resource is only halfway true… and thru math we know that half is not that much... While “running out of willpower” is an easy excuse to use, it’s way more optimistic to think that we could simply give our willpower a “boost” when needed.


For example, sometimes the hardest part about your morning workout is making the conscious decision to climb out of bed rather than hit the snooze. Once make the values based action to get up, and you are mid run, ride or lift, you feel the adrenaline rush and are ready to keep going. Your cup has been filled!


Willpower works similarly. Oddly enough, just being mindful that willpower is receptive to boosts actually serves as a boost itself. Crazy, right?


The most important question after reading this article? What will you do with this information?


You can’t hide behind the idea of willpower being a finite resource. This means that the decision is yours.


Having a day where you’re 100% unmotivated to turn off your tv and head to the gym?


Re-frame the situation. “If I go to the gym and get my workout in, I’m going to come home and feel energized to clean.” Remember, the task you’re delaying will give you the boost of energy you need to tackle the next thing you need to get done if you just get up and do it! Sometimes a change in mindset alone is all you need to start rocking all the tasks on your to-do list.


Willpower is personal. How you understand and use it is distinctly unique to just YOU. Take a few moments to consider the following (and possibly journal) your responses:

  • Think about your understanding of willpower, how you define it, and how it affects your daily actions. Are you unmotivated? In a rut? Does it give you the boost you need?


  • Try giving yourself a prompt to encourage a different view of willpower. For example, “Not eating this donut for breakfast will give me the motivation to eat healthy for the rest of the day.” Or as mentioned above, “getting my workout in will give me the energy to come home and clean the house.”


  • Consider how altering your viewpoint on willpower might help you with:
    • Eating consistently consistency
    • Training consistently
    • Meal prepping


  • When you feel like you’ve run out of willpower, try reframing your mindset.


“Wow, look at everything I’ve already accomplished today,” and “how do I use these accomplishments to drive me to another good action?”


While we’re all a constant work in progress, willpower can be used as a tool for self-empowerment and can help lead you to making positive changes in your life and get you closer to reaching your health, fitness, and overall wellness goals if you use it your advantage.


Take this information and run with it. Your health is in your hands and you’ve (hopefully) just gained a new, positive outlook on how to keep moving forward! Want some more help on how to maximize your habits and willpower together to make long term and lasting change? Please reach out to our staff of dietitians, coaches, counselors with a FREE CONSULTATION!

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