Finding the Willpower

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A new year brings new goals and resolutions.  For me, it has been a renewed energy to meet the goal I have been working on, losing weight. After a holiday plateau, I have admittedly struggled mentally.  Good thing BlogHer sent me The Willpower Instinct to review. Perfect timing.


This book, written by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., takes readers on a journey of self-control…essentially how it works, why it is important, and ways to (kid you not!) get more of it. She teaches a Stanford University course titled “The Science of Willpower”, and this book uses many of the principles.

McGonigal asks readers to think about “the three powers”: I Will, I Won’t, and I Want and how these three will help or hurt your goals…whether it be weight loss, getting out of debt,  or starting a new career.

For the purpose of this review, I took an overall perusal of the lessons first (not the recommended path) and for the past two weeks dug deep into the first two chapters and engaged in the exercises (willpower experiments) suggested. The book, ideally, would take 10 weeks to read. As an avid reader, that takes willpower to take it slow! 😉 But, McGonigal does it for a reason. Once you get into the experiments and reflect on the microscope questions she presents, you will understand.

In Chapter 1, the hardest thing for me to add to my busy life was meditation. I tried to add five minutes at the end of my workout or before my shower,  but I love my sleep. This hasn’t been easy, but on days that I do it right, I definitely feel I have more willpower and self-control.

This past week, I have been working on analyzing my stress spikes and sleep (which has not been great this week, thanks crud). The lessons have been befitting, mainly because I often let my stress reactions protect me from what is best for me.

I know the lessons ahead of me will be beneficial too, such as investigating how social networks play on willpower (where are my living healthy buddies? Bueller?) and looking at giving in and failures. So far, I have liked what I have dived into and hope that (based on my quick read) I continue to devote the next 8 weeks to this journey.

I mean, c’mon. Look at what this next week holds for me. How perfect!


Hopefully you will follow along the next few weeks as we discuss this book more over at BlogHer. I am excited to share my journey there and hope it will lead to added weight loss, too! You can follow Dr. McGonigal on Twitter (@kellymcgonigal) or pick up your own copy at your favorite book retailer (suggested retail is $26). I am sure all of you have a goal you’d like to reach this year…what a great way to work on it!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a paid review through BHBC, but all opinions are 100% my own.

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