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Wantpower, Not Willpower

Willpower is OVERRATED!

The more we think about and deny ourselves the reward the more we want it. Why is that and what can we do instead?

Stress is often the trigger of many of our bad habits. The challenge is that in the process of reward denial, and failure, we create more stress and more triggers. Many habit change experts and psychologists believe the better method of habit change is to reverse the process and start at the WANT.

Let’s use an example to illustrate.

Say you have a bad habit of drinking too much. Think back to your first drink. Did you enjoy the taste? Did you drink to avoid stress?

Probably not.

But everyone around you touted the benefits of alcohol, and you kept trying it. Eventually, with routine and practice, you saw the calming effects others did. You learned to mix the alcohol with other things that made it taste better. You learned how to avoid some of the negative side effects.

Then, at some point, you get so good at it that you fail to realize your habit is creating the stress that causes you to want it. In fact, you get so routine in this practice that you fail to recognize that the very thing you did to reduce stress is now causing you additional stress.

So now you want to quit or cut back by denying yourself the very thing you still believe is the best remedy for your problem. How’s that going to work?

I feel stressed just thinking about it.

What if instead of reward denial you go back to the beginning and start over with a new want and new reward?

How might you reduce your stress starting from a standpoint not of quitting but simply of curiosity?

How much easier might it be to change your drinking habit because you want to instead of forcing the issue?

By starting from a place of want instead of will we set ourselves up to create a new habit that quite possibly replaces the old with better results. Habits are all formed through cue and reward. Denying yourself of the reward and ignoring the cue is a tough road.

Instead, start with a mindset of not wanting what you currently have and instead repeat the process again with a new WANT. From there set up a new system of cue and reward to keep you on track.

If you want to get fit, then start by understanding what habits led to your deteriorating health. Get curious and focus on the potential reward instead of the pain that denial might induce. How much money will I save? How much better will I feel? How much more energy will I have?

Practice and repeat and eventually, the new cue and reward becomes automatic! Usually, after 10 days, we start to see a steep reduction in cravings as the brain creates new neuropathways. Most experts believe it takes anywhere from 21-66 days for most to create a new habit that sticks.

That's not too long, considering you're engaging in a potentially life-changing behavior.

Create new neuropathways by joining us in an out-of-the-gym adventure! Join us for Frigid Fit on Saturday, February 25!

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