Why Willpower Fails You, And What to Do About It

Have you noticed how hard it is to change your habits through willpower alone?

Do you find it hard to put in practice the things you’ve accepted as true?

Let’s face it: most of us find it a real struggle to improve some aspects of our lifestyle, whether it is working out, eating right, giving up bad habits, or overcoming harmful addictions.

But is there is a magical way by which you can empower yourself, and overcome even the nastiest of addictions?

And let’s be clear here: eating the wrong kind of food is the worst addition affecting human beings. I put “smoking”, “drinking”, and “drug taking” a distant second.

In this article, I want to give you the missing link for overcoming negative habits and adopting positive ones.

Why Willpower Fails

The Merriam Webster defines willpower as the ability to control yourself: strong determination that allows you to do something difficult (such as to lose weight or quit smoking).

Walk into any gym the first couple of weeks of the New Year and you’ll see people are everywhere, as if the concept of “getting fit” was just discovered. But as the days and weeks pass, those numbers lessen. Pretty soon, the only remaining people in the gym are those who have been exercising for a long time, and understand better than the rest what it takes to commit to fitness.

And the same goes for dieting or trying to incorporate healthy habits into your life using willpower alone. Sooner or later, willpower wears down, energy runs lower, and so does your self-control.

If you’re engaging willpower to break free from certain foods, or anything else that’s ingested, you’re wise to recognize the power of your adversary and don’t forget: your brain is complicit in your failures.

Take junk food for instance; you don’t have a love/hate relationship with junk food. Junk food abuses you. You have an abusive relationship with junk food.

Junk food stuff drags you down in the end, no matter how many times you fight it.

What makes your brain unable to resist junk food, and keeps bringing you back for more of the abuse?

The brain depends almost exclusively on glucose as its fuel source, which, by the way, you get from eating fruit.

Glucose in the blood fuels every cell of the body, and many of our cells are fuelled solely by glucose.

Part of what saps your energy and how it affects your moods is how much fuel your brain consumes to get you through the day.

The more mental stress you face, the more fuel is needed, and the less energy you have devoted to self-control.

The brain cannot either store glucose; it needs a steady supply. The brain also needs a constant supply of oxygen.

Eating junk food and unhealthy food in general reduces the oxygen being delivered to your brain cells. This, in turn causes memory dysfunction, decreased clarity of thinking and intuition, and hugely diminishes willpower.

Not only willpower, but the wisdom to apply it.

Some of you know me well. I have been a successful DJ and music producer for most of my life.

I have collected a few bad habits and addictions along the way. By the time I was 37, I was a chain smoker, going through a packet of cigarettes a day.

I also needed to consume alcohol and take some other substances from time to time, in order have a “good time” and I can invariably confirm something: when dealing with substance addiction, whether drugs or food, the pattern of behaviour is almost identical.

This is not a contradiction; it takes no willpower to stop eating junk food or consuming drugs, but immense willpower to control it.

Quitting smoking was very traumatising for me. I tried quitting for over a year, and I couldn’t do it. It was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. This was so tough at the time that I remember comparing quitting smoking to having to deal with my father’s death.

The interesting thing is that I managed to quit smoking permanently only after I changed my diet to raw foods.

That goes to show how important your diet is for your general health and well-being.

The problem most people face with dealing with willpower isn’t only that you lack the energy to practice willpower, but you lack the knowledge of how to apply that willpower.

By changing your diet and getting most of your calories from fruit, reducing overall fat, and replacing processed foods for whole foods; you will be taking huge steps in supplying your brain and your body with the fuel it needs.

Changing other aspects of your lifestyle, such as avoiding sleep deprivation, will also contribute to a healthy brain, which means you will have the necessary energy to overcome bad habits and quit harmful addictions.

If you’d like to find out more about on how to successful adopt positive habits and achieve lasting health, I spent more than two years writing the program Health For Life.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here 

Eat Better, Feel Better

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