Wednesday Wisdom- Why Willpower Doesn’t Work



If you’ve been following the messages we share, you know we encourage healthy habits. Keeping motivated to achieve your goals, no matter how lofty, is key. But we cannot rely on external factors to keep us motivated. External influence can often boost our emotions temporarily, which leaves us feeling motivated and happy to use willpower – again, temporarily. But emotions and willpower are fleeting. Once the emotion leaves so does our motivation, and then we feel defeated, often completely giving up and betraying ourselves in the process. It’s a vicious cycle.

So here are the 4 key takeaways to get beyond willpower:

  • Focus on connecting with and committing to only those things you’re passionate about. Your inner drive and passion will provide far more motivation because it’s deeply personal. When we connect with a passion it touches something deep within that keeps our fire burning bright.
  • Make the new habit more than a passion and instead make it part of your identity. Make it a part of who you are.
  • Connect with a tribe of others who are working towards your same goals or passions is a great tool for keeping motivated. And it doesn’t matter if your tribe is one you connect with in person or online.
  • Recognize and acknowledge the need for delayed gratification. Know that at first your existing habits will undermine your new habit. But also know that what you’re doing now will pay off in a big way in the future. Focus on what you want most and not what you want in the moment. Envision how you’re really going to feel as you realize your new habit goal. Know that the hard work you’re putting in now will pay off ten fold in the future.


What does ‘future you’ look like? If you were the best version of yourself, what would you be doing and what would your mindset be like? Use these questions to journal on what mindset and habits you want to change to experience the best possible ‘future you’. Reflect on and connect with the pain of not making these changes, and what you and those you love most will miss out on without you becoming the best possible ‘future you.’

Emotion and why willpower doesn’t work

Have you ever been filled with inspiration, late at night, planning? Maybe a work out regime or meal plan that you’re going to finally stick to. But when morning hits we don’t execute anything we’ve planned. Our willpower has plummeted by morning and we fall back into our old routines. We’ve found that willpower simply doesn’t work in keeping you motivated. The way we find motivation is we make it a habit. Examining our habits is one of the cornerstones to living a PurePower Life. We’re creatures of habit. We shouldn’t rely on emotions for motivation because emotions are fleeting. Which is a good thing. We don’t want to get stuck in one emotion for too long. The bad ones are fleeting as well but only if we’re able to let them go. Knowing why you started a habit it the most important reason to keep you motivated. When we set out to work out it is generally because we know it is what our body and mind need and we’re working towards a goal of ongoing health and wellness.


Another way to stay motivated is to connect with something that is a true passion. Whether it’s your fitness, hobby, or work, when we have something deeper and heartfelt that is driving us we’re relying less on emotion to move us forward. This is a type of motivation that does not rely on external factors to keep us motivated. You can recognize something as being a true passion when you fail at it but rather than quit you keep hammering at it. When you’ve been knocked down but are determined to pick yourself back up and keep working at it (just because you love it so much), you know the passion is real. Find your passion, it may take time but when you find it, you’ll know.


Make your new habit more than a passion by making it part of your identity. Resolve in your own mind that the new habit is just part of who you are going forward, and that nothing anyone else says or does will change this part of you. Psychologically this will cause you to act more in alignment with the new habit because you’ve fully accepted and internalized that the new habit is who you are. This makes the new habit much more deeply entrenched within your own mind, and you’re likely to act more consistently with the new habit more often.


“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Legendary business and success coach, Jim Rohn

When we’re working towards a goal, it’s so important to find a tribe of like-minded souls. One that connects with you and supports you. While in person is often best, online communities can also provide support. It is meaningful to support one another because you know that when you are in need, you’ll have the same unfaltering support you give to others.

Delayed gratification

Make a habit of doing ‘future you’ favors. If we want motivation, we need to have some delayed gratification. In the moment we may want to surf online, check social feeds or grab some snacks and bing on Netflix. But we need to have a longer-term view. We need to focus on what we want most in the long-term and not what feels the best in the moment. By adopting this awareness we more often recognize what actions and habits bring us closer to the best version of ourselves. Most of the time the junk food and Netflix isn’t the answer. What is it that you want more than anything else and what should you be doing to get you one step closer? What keeps your fire burning bright even in the face of those things that normally stifle it? Be your own inspiration and make your ‘future you’ a priority. Every. Single. Day.