The Limitations of Willpower
Hands up if you have said phrases like the following before:
- ‘I just need to have more willpower and then I can achieve…’
- ‘I do not have enough willpower and that’s why I keep failing with my diet’
- ‘No, it’s okay if everyone around me eats chocolates; I will just use my willpower to resist all temptation’
While there is a small amount of truth in the above statements, I’m here to tell you that over relying on willpower is BS!
The smart people understand that as humans we are all flawed and so they use their environment to help get the best out of them instead of relying solely on willpower.
Here’s a day in the life a person over relying on willpower:
Wake up, head to work. You get your coffee and skip the croissant because you’re being ‘healthy’ and making up for a heavy night before. Then at lunch you go for a salad because once again you are being ‘healthy’. You spend the whole afternoon saying no to little biscuits and stuff that your colleagues keep offering you.
Then you get home.
Your brain is fried and you are knackered. There is no food in your fridge and you are craving food and your partner fancies pizza. You can’t say no anymore cos you’re fed up! So you have the pizza and you’ve gone past the point where you feel bad about what you’ve had. You fancy something sweet and you open your draws and all you have is chocolates and sweets.
You wake up the next day feeling guilty about what happened last night but also determined to attack the day with more willpower!
…the cycle continues.
(Do you relate?)
The environment gang recognises the limitation of relying on willpower ALL THE TIME so they do the following:
- They make sure their home is full of good ingredients and that they have some tasty/healthy snacks for when their sweet tooth kicks in.
- They make sure their office desk, cupboard and fridge are also filled with the good stuff.
- Their partner is aware of their goals and also interested in training too so they help support each other, especially during dinners.
- If they are meeting a mate for dinner that they know they always end up drinking and eating loads with, they just make sure they eat less (only protein and veg) during the day so the total daily damage isn’t as much.
So while working on building your willpower why not think about some ways you can get your environment working for you!
Where to find out more
Get in touch with Alex, a leading personal trainer in London, via his profile or website to find out how he can help you optimise your environment for your health and fitness! His book, Why People Fail in Fitness, is available here.
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