Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Pre-Frontal Cortex...Mastering My Willpower

A few months ago a friend of mine recommended a great read, The Willpower Instinct. This book not only V8 smacked me right in the middle of the forehead,  which happens to be right around the location of your prefrontal cortex (the willpower zone), it taught me to WAKE up to the decisions I've been making. Boy, do those marketing companies know what they are doing.

This books goes into great detail about the decisions we make, why we make them and how we can gain more self-control so that we can make smarter, healthier choices. When I started reading this book I realized that, like a weak muscle, I had absolutely NO willpower, okay maybe a little, but basically I had the habit of caving on A LOT of things.

I have the tendency to be the "borrower of the future" as described in the book and this is a habit I didn't even realize has basically been ruining my dreams of the future. Yup, I often have a massive "willpower fail" as Kelly McGonigal calls it in the book.

Kelly talks about three challenges to use to help you gain more willpower. She talks about setting an "I will, I won't, and I want" phrase to the area in which you want to gain more self-control. While I absolutely have seen my willpower/self-control increase since reading this book, let's talk about my most recent FAIL! And don't worry, Kelly warned me I would's just now, I am more AWARE. And honestly, AWARENESS is key in all things, as the more you are aware, the more chance of building success one day.

So, I have decided to have a "Green Summer", a summer where I include something green in ALL of my meals and snacks...sounds great right? Well, in theory it kind of is...until you realize there are such things skittles! Then, you make all sorts of exceptions to your list of "green food". Anyways, I walked into Goodness Me, a newer health food store in the city I live, and before I went in I had a little self-control talk with myself. "Rebecca, you won't purchase the delicious mac and cheese (even though it's vegetarian)"...and in the back of my mind, I was thinking I would purchase a healthy green salad with an egg for protein...well guess what happened? I focused SO much on not getting the mac and cheese that I walked out of the store and ordered a Gluten-Free pizza from Pie. That is an EPIC fail...and the book told me this would happen...when we focus so much on making some of the choices to change, we end up failing in the sense we make a similar choice that is just as bad.

**side note**...the pizza had basil, that counts as green, right?

In order to gain self-control I have found that focussing on "I Will" statements help me a bit more. I will eat green or I will save $1000 by whenever...the point...I tend to spend A LOT of time justifying why I need the pizza today and salad tomorrow, new dress today and my own home in a month, to buy a gift for a friend and finish my education next year...this is the borrowing from the future I mentioned before...when I really need to STOP!!! I need to figure out this self-control thing and my first step is telling my pre-frontal cortex that I will help it get stronger each time we leave a store, a dress, or my favourite eye shadow behind...cause guess what? I will survive without those things!!!

Stayed tuned for my willpower challenge successes and...well...fails, cause let's face it...they are going to happen.

This weeks willpower challenge...I will read 5 chapters of my new read...A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. Simple and sweet!


  1. and you should add "I will spend more time with Shaunacey" to that list lol
    I continue to love how enthusiastic you are about life, don't be too down on yourself, you've got more will power than a lot of people I know AND you know yourself better than most ever do.

    1. I WILL definiately add that to the list! hehehe