Forget About Willpower. It’s Totally Overrated.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all bought the latest juicer or exercise equipment with the best intentions. Thinking that, this time, it’s going to be different. Your friend has been raving about it. You’re confident that your new gadget will be the thing that’ll change your life. 

In reality you use the juicer or {insert gadget of choice} enthusiastically for about 2 weeks. After that you start to lose interest a little bit. Because cleaning the whole thing is a big faff… And making sure you have all the fruit and veg in the house. And then you read something about juice being not so good for you after all.

​By week 5 your new machine is at the back of the cupboard never to be seen again. At least not until January when you have gathered fresh motivation for your new year’s resolution. 

What’s wrong with you? Are you plain weak? Do you just not have enough willpower?

Why could you say ‘no’ to the biscuit yesterday but when you were offered some today you couldn’t help yourself?  

Don’t worry you are entirely normal. 

What happens to our motivation and willpower? Why is it so unreliable? 

Willpower naturally ebbs and flows. Not just from day to day but even from moment to moment. 

The idea that starting or stopping a habit is a matter of willpower is simply not true. Which is quite a relief if you ask me. It means you are not a failure. It’s not your fault that you still haven’t managed to implement your perfect morning routine. 

Sure, willpower can come in handy for the odd occasion. But when it comes to long term behaviour change you need a better system!

Morning Routine

If willpower comes and goes, what’s the alternative? 

How can you create a habit that doesn’t need much willpower? 

My answer: Make your new behaviour so small that you don’t require any willpower to do it! 

Your new habit needs to be so super easy to do that even when you have no willpower left you can do it. Think easy to do and not taking up much time. 

Yes, I hear you. How on earth can such a small habit ever become important and life changing?

Don’t worry you can always do more when you do have the motivation but the key is that you don’t have to. If you do more, it’s a bonus. 

Here’s an example: Rather than going for a 5k run every day, set the bar much, much lower. On Mondays and Wednesdays you’ll go for a jog around the blog. That’s it. On the days you feel good and full of energy you’ll want to do more and that’s okay. You are allowed but you don’t have to. 

Over time and as your fitness levels improve you’ll find that on most days you’ll now be running your 5k. But on days where you feel tired or pushed for time you can still just do the minimum. And best of all: you’ll still consider it a success! 

Why not give it a go, set yourself a new habit task that is small in size but big on impact. 

I love not relying on willpower and not beating myself up for the lack of it! It’s a much more self compassionate approach.

Let me know in the comments what you think about willpower and what it feels like to let go of it!

Happy habit building. 

Julia

X

If you want to find out more about how to create healthy habits that stick, why not sign up to fitandhappy HABITS. The only emails you’ll need to start changing your life forever.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *