The Psychology of Willpower: Training the Brain for Better Decisions

In 2011, 27% of the respondents of the Stress in America survey reported a lack of willpower as the greatest obstacle to change. We rely on willpower to exercise, diet, save money, quit smoking, stop drinking, overcome procrastination, and ultimately accomplish any of our goals. It impacts every area of our lives. Willpower is not a new concept, but we still do not have widespread awareness as to how to nurture it. Mahatma Gandhi described willpower by noting that “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will”. Many people have an intuitive sense of what this willpower is but lack the scientific knowledge to understand the forces that undermine it. How can we work with willpower instead of against its stubborn nature? They say knowledge is power, and in this case, knowledge is willpower.

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