‘control exerted to do something or restrain impulses’ – dictionary definition

Willpower is often blamed for the lack of success when it comes to the latest diet or exercise regime falling away and old habits coming back. Is it true or just an easy excuse for failure?

“I just didn’t have the willpower to stick to the diet”

“I started the couch to 5k program but it was hard and I lacked the willpower to run before work after week 1”

I’m sure if you are like me and look back at the seemingly endless attempts to lose weigh in the past that failed it was lack of willpower that did it.  You start well get some results and push through the early cravings or workouts. Why does it always happen?

Let’s look at this simply, we all know someone who has succeeded in losing weight and is enjoying looking and feeling better. What did they do differently?  Do they just have more willpower than me?

Everyone is different but the one thing that is consistent in the people that succeed is there commitment to an end result.  A vision of where they want to be and how good it will feel when they get there.  For example: they may potentially feel unconfident in their clothes and about themselves generally which hurts, it causes pain and for them to act in a way they don’t like.  They register the pain of how this feels and vow to change it.  They will observe slimmer, fitter and more confident people and make a firm decision to become one.

Here are some examples of committed or uncommitted:

  1. I want to lose 3 stone, tone my body and wear clothes that make me look good. I want to be a size 10. I know I would exude confidence in all areas in my life and feel happier at work, socially and at home.
  2. I just want to lose some weight so I’m going to try a diet that my friend at work is doing.

Is it willpower or is it a lack of vision and commitment.  Without a clear purpose and a fantastic end result to fight for are we ever likely to get a dream result.

Next time you are thinking about losing weight, try indulging yourself in the real reasons. Look at the pain the extra weight causes and go deep into how it can make you feel in certain circumstances. Then flip it around completely and think hard about the new, slimmer, happier, more confident and great looking you will feel in the same circumstances.  That’s is your vision and what you are committing to.  That is why you fight the urge to go back to your bad eating habits or get up and run before work.

Is this building better willpower?  I think it is.  I prefer to see it as preparing to succeed but willpower will kick in at some stage and you need to be ready to remind it why you are doing this.