Do you struggle with the lack of willpower? Especially at night, after a long day?
And then you find yourself sitting on the couch, watching TV with a bowl of ice cream in your lap or an empty bag of potato chip on the coffee table.
Oh so common! But, not the end of the world.
When you are tired, yes, it's harder to rely on that a combination of courage, mental stamina and determination we think of as willpower.
So, what do you do? You're tired every night. And if you're trying to eat better and you need willpower to do, you're going to fail every night.
Not so. Yes, being tired doesn't help and here's why.
Willpower is your conscious brain saying it's going to stick to something. There’s a future goal you want to reach and that means you have to change your ways.
The lack of willpower is your subconscious brain saying there’s something we need to address – right now. We’re not waiting for the future, because it doesn’t matter.
Basically, the two sides of your own brain conflict with each other. One wants something in the future, the other wants something right now.
Before humans had safe houses with comfy couches and a TV to keep them occupied, they were a lot less protected. And brains had to stay on alert for trouble.
The main job of your brain is to determine if you are safe. It’s constantly asking the question; “Am I safe?” And your subconscious brain does not know the difference between imminent threat or something that causes a lot of stress but isn’t dangerous such as a fight with your spouse.
Your brain is wired to see almost everything as a threat, and survival takes precedence over all. After all, if you don’t survive now, what good is it to plan for the future?
So, in the evening, when you are tired – you lack willpower. What could be the most immediate ‘threat’ you need to address? Your brain might be trying to tell you it needs glucose.
Your body may not know how to efficiently burn fat for fuel, and your blood sugar is low, so you brain goes for the most immediate source of glucose it can find.
But what if it’s not that at all? What if you’re bored? Your just not engaged? If you’re not sleeping and you’re not alert – you’re somewhere in between. Your brain might be trying to get you engaged. Wake you up in some way.
There’s research coming out of the Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience that suggests willpower acts like an emotion. And if we view it this way, we can use the lack of willpower as a signal that something is amiss.
Your ‘negative’ emotions are not negative, they are more like alerts. They are your body’s way of communicating to your conscious self that there is a threat.
A lack of willpower could be doing the same. It could be telling you that you need something like glucose. Or your mental facilities are not engaged, you’re bored, which is risky behavior – you could miss something.
When you are fully engaged, interested in what you are doing – you don’t lack willpower.
When you are safe, well fed, your body is functioning well, your brain is functioning well – you don’t lack will power. That could explain why you have ‘more’ will power in the morning after a night of restful sleep.
But after a long day of stressful events, not feeding yourself well, not well hydrated – you lack willpower.
Check out the Facebook Livestream where I share with you how you can use your lack of willpower to help you sift your relationship with food…
I may have been referring to relationships with food, but you can use this tip with anything you are struggling with to change and you are lacking willpower to keep it up.
To include exercising more.
For instance, if you do not enjoy what you are doing or there is a threat you are ignoring, getting yourself to the gym is not going to get passed your lack of willpower.
Your subconscious is trying to tell you to choose something different, pick a different time, or you need something else taken care of first.
Remember, NOW always – almost always – trumps the FUTURE. Your subconscious is concerned with now and how safe you are now. And that means, getting up on a cold morning to go for a jog may not be in your best interest in the moment. Staying in bed where you’re safe and warm is the better option according to your subconscious.
And if that’s the case, you need a better plan. You need to find a way to set your subconscious at ease, meet its needs and then go for it!
What that is, I can’t tell you. But if you would like some guidance and help discovering what that is – I can help.
If you want to figure out how to work with both your conscious and subconscious minds so you can make some lifestyle shifts. If you want to finally improve your health and expand your happiness, apply and schedule a complimentary Exploration Consult with me today!
Your partner in health,
P.S. What are your thoughts? Do you want to expand the conversation? Share your comments and insights on my Facebook page; Justine Cécile Coaching.
And if you are a woman and would like to dig deeper, come join me over at The Notable Woman on Facebook. The Notable Woman is a place for women who have seen a few things, experienced a few things and want more.
It's a place where we can gather and overcome conventional norms that say we have to slow down as we age. That stomach upset, fatigue, body aches & pains, and cognitive slowing down is normal. (They may be common, but certainly NOT normal.) It's a place where we can gather and overcome conventional norms that say we must slow down as we age. That stomach upset, fatigue, body aches & pains, and cognitive slowing down is normal. (They may be common, but certainly NOT normal.)