Busting the Willpower Myth

Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

And then it hit me once again. Willpower. That’s made up too.

We think that willpower is a thing, something out there, something we’ve either got or haven’t.

How many times have you said or heard someone say when offered another glass of wine or another piece of chocolate … “Oh I’m terrible, I’ve got no willpower.”

Not true.

Here’s what I see.

Willpower is thought.

Saying, “I’ve got no willpower” is simply believing a thought and acting on it or acting it out.

We really don’t have to act on every thought because thoughts aren’t true. And that’s a good thing! It’s unlikely that you raising your fist and raging and cursing either out loud or under your breath at a driver who just cut you up you’ll act upon.

When we pour a glass of wine in the evening even though we committed to ourselves in the morning that today would be an alcohol free day, or grab another bar of chocolate at the supermarket, what’s going on?

It’s not a willpower issue, that’s just a label we give ourselves.

It’s a thinking issue.

We think that pleasure, peace, relaxation, feeling good comes from the wine or the chocolate. It doesn’t. Those feelings only ever come from inside us. Now, that’s not to say that they’re nice things to do by the way! It’s just that when we see that it’s not the wine or the chocolate that’s doing it it becomes easier to say no, not today.

So last night, I was about to go to the fridge to pour a glass of wine when I remembered my commitment. I laughed, closed the fridge door and felt great this morning!