Do you have much willpower? How easy do you find it to leave the wine unopened in the fridge on a week night? How often do you succumb to a sugary snack mid afternoon when you promised yourself you wouldn’t? Have you come to the conclusion that you actually don’t have much willpower at all?
Well, I’ve recently learnt that willpower is not something that we have lots of or not. Researchers studying willpower (which is another name for self-control) have concluded that it is like a muscle. It gets tired and it’s energy gets used up, which means that we don’t have access to the same quantity and quality of willpower at all times throughout the day or week, just like our physical strength varies at different times. So this will explain why we open the bottle of wine when we’ve spent the day trying not to lose it with an obnoxious work colleague, or why we shout at the kids when we’ve spent all day avoiding bad food. Willpower is finite. It needs to be recharged. So next time you shout at yourself for not having any willpower, pat yourself on the back and acknowledge all the ways you have controlled your impulses already that day, and focus on recharging your willpower batteries instead.
What recharges them – well sleep and glucose. But that doesn’t mean reaching for the sugar because the ensuing sugar low makes things even worse. Eat healthy slow release carbs and proteins and make sure you don’t go hungry.