Willpower: Maybe, Maybe not

I grew up with the notion that you only had to have enough will to accomplish almost anything. Willpower, though, while good on many levels, on others it may not be quite all it’s cracked up to be. Will or willpower can help us achieve many things, but there are definitely limits to how far willpower can take us, especially if the root of a particular problem is adequate or correct information; or deeper in the brain than the part that deals with willpower.

When it comes to sugar, starch, and artificial sweeteners that act on our limbic brain, we no longer are dealing with the frontal lobes where everyday thinking occurs. We have to get at the root of our sugaraholic behaviors by eliminating the offending substances, which can take some willpower, but to try to have these substances and hope to exert control via willpower over their actions in our brains is nothing short of foolhardy.

Willpower is good, it pushes me to walk that extra mile, or push that heavier weight, or sit through a boring lecture, but there are limits to what the will can do when it comes to many of our health issues.

Below are some interesting articles that look at the subject from different angles, and I recommend Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, which deals with willpower as well.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201212/was-the-year-in-willpower

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/willpower-its-in-your-head.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/books/review/willpower-by-roy-f-baumeister-and-john-tierney-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

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