Sunday, 22 May 2016

It Isn't About Willpower

As I have been at this elimination diet/lifestyle change for 60+ days, I have noted the same conversation has occurred multiple times with most of the people I know. It goes like this.

"I could never do it. I don't have the willpower."

While I have tried to minimizing my response to this, a few people have gotten my rant. It isn't about willpower or self-control. It is about systematic behaviour change. If I left it all to  self-control", the package of peanut M&Ms, one of my very favourite things in the entire world, wouldn't have lasted in the house for 10 seconds let alone days.

Even though I believe you can
create your own motivation, I do find
this funny! 
I admit my bias is to observable, measurable behaviour because that is what I went to school to learn about and what I do every day as a behaviour analyst, but I will try not to geek out too much. (Although if anyone is interested in a more scientific explanation on behaviour change, I am happy to share!)

First, if you start off by saying "I could never do that" or "I don't have time"  you have just given yourself permission not to. I say to myself, "this is going to be hard, it is going to suck, but it is for the short-term and then I will be feeling better and it will be worth it." Somedays I have to say this a lot.

Second, people often say to me "it is too hard."  Well, I can't say it is not hard, but there are things I do that make it easier. I plan my meals. I know what I am going to eat all week at almost every moment. I avoid some situations that place me in temptation. I have also found some special little treats that help compensate for the things I can't eat.

Third, I have created accountability outside myself by sharing this with everyone. The ladies I work with (I work in an all female environment) follow my successes and failures. I share it here. I share it with my friends and family. I also chart everything I eat etc. with my nutritionist. Besides being accountable to myself (which is usually enough), I have a community I am sharing with.

Forth, I have decided to make my health a priority. I am willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

I believe we can all do what we value and set our mind to. So don't let this idea of no willpower stop you from making the changes you want to in your life!


  1. I need to hear more of this. It is interesting what we define as "hard". As a runner I have different ways to define the word "pain". We runners are notorious for being able to tolerate pain. If I applied this same theory to the word "hard" I can see how that would be very beneficial! Thanks for slapping my face lol!


    1. You have given me permission to geek out about behaviour change! I will in a post soon!