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Do you think you lack willpower or motivation?

do you know that 45% of people give up their New Year’s resolution by the end of the 1st month.  65% of people do not use their gym membership for the full period.  (the average duration of joining a gym is 11 months).

Last week I gave a talk on willpower,

I was asked to put together some material from that talk (click here) so I put together a short summary of that talk and some supporting videos/research on that matter.

Normally I like to keep my blogs short, this is a bit longer – hopefully you will follow up with the material I have put together. I have put together a range of videos which I think you will find enjoyable (fun makes it easier) and informative.  (Do also read my previous blog as this topic)

what is willpower ?

its about self control, self regulation, self discipline.

however the good news is that it is a resource you can develop, manage,  conserve and keep for the important things in your life.

is your bandwidth compromised ?

Do you find you lose sight of your long term goals because other things interfere.  Maybe you have had your cognitive load/willpower depleted.  Have you noticed what’s easy gets done – I will do another blog on the topic of how to make difficult things easy and reducing the effort of doing difficult things).

Baumister and others have developed the concept of ego depletion

Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower draw upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up.[1] When the energy for mental activity is low, self-control is typically impaired, which would be considered a state of ego depletion. In particular, experiencing a state of ego depletion impairs the ability to control oneself later on. A depleting task requiring self-control can have a hindering effect on a subsequent self-control task, even if the tasks are seemingly unrelated. Self-control plays a valuable role in the functioning of the self on both individualistic and interpersonal levels. Ego depletion is therefore a critical topic in experimental psychology, specifically social psychology, because it is a mechanism that contributes to the understanding of the processes of human self-control.

The word “ego” in “ego depletion” is used in the psychological sense rather than the colloquial sense

I have also done a previous blog on ego depletion, read about it here

Many businesses build their business around helping you build your willpower, goals and motivation to achieve your goals.

Many other courses and bootcamps help you temporarily to get some change or result.

I hope the resources, links, and videos etc I have put here will help you develop your own skills and strategies to make this happen.

The reality is that willpower, (ego depletion) is a finite resource.

If you are tired, have too much on your mind, and your cognitive load is excessive, you will fail.

we are in a constant battle between or short term impulses and our long term goals ?

Have you seen the ad with Mr Bean and Snickers ?

Have you every had a Mr Bean moment ? (when you are tired and you become clumsy, awkward, and things just go plain wrong)
did you think you needed a snickers to fix it ?
maybe you were not that far ?
maybe you were suffering from ego depletion ?

Do you know what it has to do with ego depletion ?

Many things deplete our resources

  • Lack of sleep
  • Expressing emotions
  • Poor diet,
  • low blood sugar
  • Stress
  • Decision making
  • Chronic pain,
  • sickness,
  • PMS
  • Exercising willpower uses up willpower
  • Keeping secrets,
  • wearing a “mask”
  • Suppressing/avoiding emotions
  • Intense focus and prolonged concentration
  • Controlling your thoughts,
  • impulses
  • Conflicting goals


One of the hardest views to change is the view that willpower is all it takes.

Kelly McGonigal has done some excellent work in this area.

the first thing one can do is to focus on the basics.  these core skills will help you maximise your mental resources.

they are obvious, such as

  • getting enough sleep
  • eating properly
  • exercising
  • meditating

but building these good habits themselves take willpower.


Roy Baumeister has done some excellent work to help you manage this critical resource.

These strategies will help you maximise your willpower as these strategies reduce your cognitive load (eg habits) and avoid things that deplete your willpower.

Do you think the poor are poor because they are lazy and unmotivated ?

Scarcity is a wonderful book explaining how the poor are also caught in this trap.  so the issue is not just an individual problem but one for society at large