The Truth About Will Power

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Recently a longtime client posted an incredible picture of a recent physical and health transformation. She is by all important markers the healthiest she has been in years, happier, and a side effect of all that she is at a bodyweight low.

She said how happy she was with diet “X”, which she had been doing for the past 6 weeks. The diet itself doesn’t matter, it works for her in this case, but she and I both know it is a temporary and effective solution for her at this moment but I digress. Needless to say this diet, like most is restrictive, you can’t eat this or that.

The first comment was “Congratulations! I don’t have the willpower to do that” another person said something along the lines of “you’re stronger than me.”

The truth is will power isn’t about strength, and it isn’t about toughness.

Will power is about planning.

When we think about will power in terms of a diet, we picture the party where we just can’t resist that piece of cake.

Surprise donuts in the office one morning.

Most of us know that you’ll hold out for awhile, but by the end of the party or the end of the morning you might just grab that cake or donut. So how do some people not? Are they stronger than you? Than me?

No, they do one important thing.

Eliminate Decision fatigue

You know the discussion,

what do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t care”

“Me neither, you choose”

I think all of us can relate to the evening where no one can decide where to eat. That is an illustration of decision fatigue. At the end of a long day when you’ve made decisions since the moment you woke up, it becomes more and more difficult to make tough decisions.

Did you know that Judges are 85% more like to deny parole at the end of the day than at the beginning? This is another example of decision fatigue.

 When you make decisions constantly, you will default to no decision or the easy decision by the end of your day.

So to combat decision fatigue you need to eliminate as many small decisions as possible, so when faced with things that require will power you will be less likely to give in.

Don’t be afraid to eat the same thing for breakfast/lunch everyday. If breakfast is already chosen in the morning, you’ll be less likely to grab the work donuts.

Write out a meal plan for every evening. Knowing and stocking what you are going to cook leads you to be less likely to give in to the take out monster.

Eliminate other small decisions. Where the same clothes to work everyday (or at small spin on the same thing). Steve jobs had his trademark mock turtleneck, Warren Buffet has the same version of 3 suits (I wear the same 3 sweatshirts to work on a rotating basis). If it isn’t an important decision, then don’t make it a hard decision.

Plan ahead. If you have to decide to go to the gym each day, and stay on an eating plan, eventually both might be too hard. So leave your gym clothes out the night before so you don’t even have to make the decision to go in the morning.

People are not blessed with, nor do they develop will power. Instead they are calculating with their choices so that they can avoid decision fatigue. By avoiding decision fatigue they are much more likely to make the tough choice when others’ will power might have been lost.

In Health,

Coach Wil

P.S. Let us know if you need a little help in simplifying so you can hit a big goal of weightloss, strength, performance or health. Just contact us at

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