593 - Stop Relying on Willpower

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Manage episode 272043276 series 1717427
By Gregg Clunis. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode, we look at willpower and why you struggle to accomplish your goals.

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The Problem:

When we decide we want to build better habits things tend to be pretty straightforward– we are going to lose weight, stop smoking, organize our closets, and finally stop procrastinating. But by the end of the week your plastic bins for organizing are still in the trunk of your car, your new running shoes tossed in the back of the closet, and there are those cigarettes still being smoked.

What happened?

Digging Deeper

The dictionary definition of willpower is the control exerted to do something or restrain impulses, and the ability to control one’s own actions, emotions or urges.

It’s important to understand that willpower is like physical strength in that:

  • Willpower is a mind-body response, not merely a mindset
  • Willpower is limited (just like muscle power)
  • Willpower is trainable (just like muscle power)

According to researchers at McMaster University of Hamilton in Ontario willpower can be exhausted. Picture yourself working on, you might start out strong but by the end your last rep you find yourself struggling to do the exercise. The same thing happens to our willpower.

The Solution

But given how temporary that willpower can be it ends up being a bit of a double edged sword.

When we see ourselves as lacking willpower and failing at our goals our self-confidence takes a hit and we start doing nothing, or we replace action with fantasy. (One day when I lose those 30 pounds…)

So how can you train and strengthen your willpower to maximize its capacity?

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