Boosting Willpower: Is It Possible?

Published Monday, December 19, 2011 7:51 PM

The fall and winter holidays test willpower like nobody's business. No sooner has the last piece of Halloween candy been consumed than we succumb to stuffing-and-pumpkin-pie season. And it's a mere blink between that last bite of turkey and the first candy cane. Next up, eggnog, hot chocolate and New Year's champagne. Do you think it's possible to boost one's willpower before the chocolate Easter eggs and jelly beans start rolling out?

Experts are divided on whether willpower is fixed and limited, dictated by biology and our brain's hard-wiring, or if willpower is self-renewing, capable of being increased through consistent application and hard work.

We're no experts, but we like the findings of a recent New York Times article Willpower: It's in Your Head  which concludes that willpower is only limited if you believe it is so. When people believe that willpower is self-renewing, that hard work provides energy to work even harder and that resisting one temptation makes resisting the next even easier, we see that boosting willpower is possible.

Ready to get started? We like the advice in How to Boost Your Willpower. 

Tips include:

  • Think of willpower as a mental muscle, avoid physical and mental forces that weaken it and look for chances to exercise and strengthen self-control.
  • Keep glucose levels at an even keel. Low glucose levels weaken control and can lead to binges.
  • Laughter and positive thoughts are clinically proven to help increase self-control. Happy hormones build willpower so practice positive thinking.
  • Start small, with easy to master tasks that improve self-control gradually, in order to strengthen willpower for bigger challenges.


Do you agree that willpower can be strengthened with practice and mind over matter? What are your favorite tricks for exerting willpower? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.


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