Words that Don’t Serve Part 2: Willpower

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Words matter. They carry deep meaning on the inside of us and we attach feelings to them. There are a few words that I just don’t think serve us as coaches, because they don’t lead us anywhere.

Today’s word is Willpower.

So many of my clients have this idea that other people have “willpower” and they don’t. Or that “willpower” is the reason someone will lose weight… usually wrapped up in the whole deprivation idea behind weight loss.

What I have found: Willpower isn’t real. 

You may have a level of resistance to certain foods, or you just make better choices because you’re thinking about cause and effect.


There is a plate of cookies and a plate of sugar snap peas. Which one should I have?

A person that thinks through cause and effect might choose the sugar snap peas, not because they don’t like cookies, and not because they think food makes them fat, but because they know the cookies will make them feel bad and set them back on their personal well-being. Where the sugar snap peas are sweet and carry phytonutrients, which help with overall health.

If that person thinks “I better not eat the cookies; they will make me fat,” it is far less likely to help the person choose the sugar snap peas. Because another part of that person is like “welll…… it might not make me fat… and I like cookies.” Or any number of self deprecating thoughts.

So, the first person thought about her personal wellness, and the second person was stuck in diet mentality or deprivation thought.

THAT, I find is the real difference.

I don’t have willpower, any more than you or your neighbor. But I am not likely to eat a plate of cookies or a whole pizza or drink soda because those things won’t make me feel good. I am in tune with what makes me feel good, and what will send me to bed with a tummy ache. Tummy aches aren’t worth it.

I also want to feed my body things that make her systems hum. I imagine the insides of my body enjoying a meal that has quality ingredients. I imagine my cells getting fed. I imagine my brain thriving.

That’s not willpower; that’s loving myself enough to make a good choice for my body and brain.

Can you remove the word “willpower” and replace it with what you feel or think? That will yield far better results, emotionally and physically.

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