Tuesday, August 9, 2016


People spend about a quarter of their waking hours resisting desires all different desires.  The urge to eat, urge to sleep, sexual urges, urges for other kinds of interactions, like checking e-mail and social-networking sites, surfing the Web, listening to music, or watching television.  Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney was a very interesting and insightful read.  I learned so many interesting aspects of willpower. We have many common names for willpower: determination, drive, resolve, self-discipline, self-control. But psychologists characterize willpower, or self-control, in more specific ways. According to most psychological scientists, willpower can be defined as, the ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.  It is also the capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling or impulse.

One of the most interesting aspects was that Baumeister discovered that willpower actually works like a muscle. It can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose, and it can be bolstered simply by replenishing the brain's store of fuel. That's why eating and sleeping; and especially failing to do either of those-have such dramatic effects on self-control. This is why dieters have such a hard time resisting temptation. You’re better off eating foods with a low glycemic index: most vegetables, nuts, many raw fruits, cheese, fish, meat, olive oil, and other “good” fats.  This part I found so neat!  My husband and I recently started a ketogenic diet, and there are so many similarities between ketosis and the idea of building a stronger willpower.  Reading this book, just gave me the motivation to give this "lifestyle" a solid effort.  The outcomes both mentally and physically will be very rewarding. 

Baumeister's latest research shows that we typically spend four hours every day resisting temptation. No wonder people around the world rank a lack of self-control as their biggest weakness.  This was such a reality check diving into this book.  Both authors mention many stories on an assortment of topics; from religion to narcism.  This gave me a different perspective on how i’m dealing with the world around me compared to how others are feeling.  I never realized how many impulses I had to be lazy.  All I’d like to do is lay on my couch, eat pork roll, Pinterest on my phone, and binge watch Game of Thrones.  That is an ideal day.  However, because of my willpower…  I am working eleven hour days running a clinic on an Air National Guard base, ensuring all members are medically cleared to deploy, I’m also going to school full time, trying to maintain a household, exercise daily, and trying to remain somewhat sane.  Needless to say, willpower is how I survive my days.  Thankfully this book has opened my eyes to different ways that I can stay on track and make my willpower stronger.  


  1. We all deal with willpower on a daily basis and this was extremely interesting to learn about how willpower works as a muscle and actually makes perfect sense. Great example of dieters having a hard time resisting temptation to the normal fattening or junk foods they would eat prior. Also, what comes to mind is addicts and their battle everyday with willpower and to move forward and not relapse. Like dieters have to have a new "lifestyle" and work out everyday along with eating healthy proper portioned meals, addicts also have to make sobriety their new "lifestyle" and all aspects that comes along with that.