So many people think that if they just had more willpower, that they would lose weight permanently. So let’s explore, what is willpower and is that really true?
Webster defines willpower as: the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions. The big takeaway here is that willpower is all about our actions.
A lot of people see willpower as the key to weight loss and think that those that struggle with their weight must have no willpower and no ability to control themselves. My friends, this is not only incredibly insulting, but it’s a huge, blatant lie!
The reason that most people struggle with their weight is not for lack of willpower. After all, I’m sure you can think of many people who are overweight but are highly accomplished in vast areas of their lives. There are beautiful, generous overweight people doing magnificent things all over the world. Losing weight is not an issue of willpower. They’ve got willpower nailed.
The truth is that in order to change any outcome in our lives, including weight, we must first start with our thinking vs. our actions because here’s how our minds and bodies operate:
- Our thinking…
- Creates feelings…
- Which generate actions…
- That lead to results…
Every. Single. Time.
Think of willpower as the momentum behind our actions, so if we want to change our results, we need to go back and change our thoughts, not try to muster up different actions and more willpower.
Our thinking not only influences our actions, but it can make momentum either work for or against us:
- When our thinking is in alignment with our intended actions, we create momentum and willpower.
- When our thinking conflicts with our intended actions, willpower becomes a struggle and a fight with ourselves.
Let’s put it together with an example.
- The thought, “I can get that promotion” allows me to
- Feel empowered
- And I can take actions like pitching myself for the job, demonstrating the skills needed
- To get the result I want
Since my actions support a thought I believe, I can leverage willpower to create more momentum with my actions. But the result I get is based on my original thought, not based on willpower.
On the contrary, when I have a thought that conflicts with my intended action, my “will,” in willpower gets confused and it doesn’t work.
- If I believe the thought, “I’ll never lose the weight”
- I feel hopeless
- I’ll likely eat whatever I want
- And then my result will be to either stay the same weight or gain weight
When I am expecting that I’ll be able to act by following a diet and exercise when my original thought is “I’ll never lose the weight,” I’ve just created cognitive dissonance, a.k.a. a big mental conflict. Willpower won’t result in any actions with momentum because I’m fighting with my own beliefs. Further, my brain is designed to prove my thoughts true so thoughts will always trump desired actions and willpower when there’s conflict. Willpower literally loses its power.
But fret no more. I assure you, there is a much better way to stack the deck for success and generate the change you want! Stop relying on willpower and embrace, “Skill Power.” Skill Power is the ability to use tools and techniques that empower your success and here are just a few examples:
- Go right to the source and replace those negative thoughts and beliefs with ones that resonate and support your intended actions so you can use willpower and momentum as a catalyst to get the results you want.
- For instance, “Even though I don’t see the number on the scale I want right now, my body is actually in the process of losing weight.”
- Or “Each choice I make as it relates to fueling and moving my body is an opportunity to be my personal best.”
- When you choose a positive, believable thought, you’re likely to feel empowered, your actions will come with willpower, you’ll make healthier choices, and consequently have more positive results which then can reinforce your new positive belief. Much better way of living, don’t you think? Try it on yourself and notice how your feelings, actions and results shift.
- Excavate other negative beliefs that aren’t serving you. Hire your very own internal private eye, someone who works 24/7 and sits on your shoulder and is your best and most loving friend. Job description is to just notice, with curiosity and compassion, what’s really going on for me right now? What do I need? Am I hungry for food or am I hungry for connection, a nap, a walk etc.
And lastly, never again berate yourself or question your willpower. You ooze willpower. This is about your thinking and with just a little practice, you can start to end the struggle over your actions and willpower, align with positive thoughts and become your own friend again, be on your own side, while losing weight. Imagine actually loving yourself and losing weight! I dare you 😉