Resolutions and willpower

Creating and keeping resolutions can take a lot of willpower. Many people believe that willpower is something that some people have and some people don’t. When they don’t follow through on their goals, they often blame their “lack of willpower”. However, willpower is not something that is bestowed upon some people and not others, and it is also not something that can be increased by exercising it. It is a finite resource that is shared with other functions of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain (along with decision making, understanding, memorizing and recalling). While many brain functions are automatic, others, such as deciding what shirt to wear for your Zoom call, trying to not eat another damn Christmas cookie, or memorizing Justin Bieber’s new songs, require a lot of energy and drain our willpower bank.

Knowing this has helped me immensely with creating and maintaining healthy habits. I used to be an “all or nothing” gal when it came to my self-improvement goals (aka a “nothing” gal), but now, I understand the reasoning behind starting with one small change and then slowly adding on. This one change may use a lot of brain resources or willpower at first, but eventually, you are able to do it reflexively. Once this happens, you free up your precious willpower for other functions, like creating a new habit, or replacing an unhealthy habit with a new one. The more routines you are able to create throughout your day, the better the chance that you will have willpower left at the end of the day when you often need it most.

What small change are you going to start with in 2021?

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Mandy Robertson
Mandy Robertson is an IAT Certified Trichologist with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree of Business Administration.

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