The BEST HOLIDAYS YET! Herculean Willpower—or Not (Part 4)

The BEST HOLIDAYS YET! Herculean Willpower—or Not (Part 4)

That raw power of I want or I desire is one of the strongest motivational forces in our body—literally tied to our deepest need for survival. So how does it relate to improving my willpower? 

The urge for those cookies was once, believe it or not, necessary to motivate us to grab those sweets even in the face of lurking predators. Today, those cookies are not going anywhere, and there are not hungry monsters nearby (unless you count Aunt Meg.) Our body has not fully adjusted to the 21st century, and these reactions happen without us even knowing it. 

I want willpower is the motivational force that gets us to take action such as I want to lose weight.  It’s the motivational force that that we call determination.  It’s when the rider and the elephant are perfectly aligned, and you are unstoppable.  While eat bite of sugar lowers your willpower (i.e. guilty pleasure further lowers willpower), each reinforcement of what you WANT helps your willpower resolve because you are working toward something rather than trying to just avoid something. So here are some simple tips to enjoy holiday treats without losing your willpower completely.

  1. Take a few breaths and just focus on the breaths for a minute or so.
  2. Find what motivates you: feeling healthy, fitting into that outfit –whatever.
  3. Focus on seeing yourself achieving what you want—stay healthy and fit. What might say about you when you are that way? How would you feel if you were that way right now?
  4. Now when you are feeling totally good about yourself, imagine selecting one or totally ignoring those sweets. Imagine the sweets with a something that will disgust you (oozing blobs of fat, covered in cat hair.) You will be fortifying your willpower by being more creative and more disgusting.
  5. Finish by seeing, hearing and feeling yourself pass up those disgusting sweets and just stand there realizing how good you feel about yourself and tell yourself that you just gave yourself a willpower boost.

If by chance you happen to have a sweet or two, don’t dwell on it and repeat these steps before the next party. You will be prepared and ready for all those sweets–now for all those in-laws. (See BEST HOLIDAY YET Part III, Contagiousness of Celebration.)