What Happened to My Willpower?

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Ever notice how it takes willpower (or self-control) to change a habit or keep our cool? Whether its denying ourselves that chocolate cake when we are counting our calories or trying not to lose our patience with our partner when we are frustrated, keeping our self-control can be a challenge! What many people may not realize is that our supply of willpower is limited. Once we use it up, we have to wait for it to replenish.

This is very helpful to know as we think about our goals and plans. Is it a good idea to take on that new diet at the same time we are remodeling the house? Or have that crucial conversation with our child after we’ve been on the phone arguing with the insurance agent about our claim? Too many changes and stresses at the same time are going to wipe out our will power, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and out of control! Instead, we can try to spread out major changes and stresses in our lives (when possible…).

Knowing our willpower is limited can also help us adjust our expectations. We can accept the fact that there will be days that we give in to temptation or impatience because we are tired, stressed, or have that nagging headache. This doesn’t mean we have failed, it just means we need to recharge and keep going. Some of the best ways to help our willpower recover faster include getting our sleep, exercising, eating healthy, and enjoying those outlets that relieve our stress. So as you consider your goals or even your day, be aware of situations that will require willpower and remember it is a limited resource.

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