Personal Project, Willpower

The Willpower Instinct Project – Week 5

McGonigal, Kelly - The Willpower InstinctThis week it was back to observation and not doing. It’s funny every time I read one of these observation chapters I write out what I already know and generally see it happen throughout the week. I guess what I’m really looking for is that piece to push me over the edge to make me do what I need to do to overcome my laziness/distractions.

Again, as with Duhigg, McGonigal asked us to look at what it is that makes us do something (our reward) and to take note of how retailers set things up to take advantage of (or to create) distracted consumers. This has become incredibly apparent as my local grocery store has recently rebranded and is attempting to be more upmarket that it was previously, and this goes so far as to include, tastings, demonstrations and even live music. Honestly, I just think it’s obnoxious and thankfully shop early enough in the day most weekends that there’s nothing going on. I can easily see where this would cause many people to purchase unnecessary things, but I go in with a list and pretty much buy the same thing every week.

My weakness, however, is the sales and discounts! I’ve gotten much better than I was, but it’s still difficult when I see sale signs 🙂 And this is the third thing she asked us to look at, when does wanting create anxiety? For me it’s almost always tied into money. There are so many things I’d love to purchase, but don’t because the thought of putting that much money into one thing, or into something I don’t have a need for at the moment makes me incredibly anxious. So that’s a good thing at least when it comes to wanting to put more money towards bills and what not.

The two experiments for this week are to set up a reward for something I’ve been putting off and then to mindfully indulge in something. Well I’ve already set up a reward for getting back to the gym (and I’ve been every time I was supposed to these past two weeks!) so that’s something. And I mindfully indulged in bite sized candies at work on Tuesday night and it was not pretty. I made myself sick because I just didn’t stop eating them, it was a weird compulsion, I wanted something sweet and had one and then kept justifying one more and another and another. Clearly, I needed an apple or something, but all that was there was candy (for the students) and eating all of it made me physically ill and then I felt super guilty because I’d been so good about the gym too!

Hopefully, next week it’ll be more of a do than a reflect week, but based on the title, Chapter Six: What The Hell: How Feeling Bad Leads to Giving In, I’m not holding my breath.

Check out previous weeks’ posts below:


10 thoughts on “The Willpower Instinct Project – Week 5”

  1. This sounds like a great project. I know that I deal with stress by shopping (hence having over 700 unread books!) and I have really had to retrain myself to recognise and understand my feelings before I start spending again. My technique? I quite literally stay away from the shops and online stores. It’s not easy though, but will power is winning for the moment….


    1. It really is about routines! Once you’ve stayed away for a but and gotten into the habit of not buying them, next time you go into one it’ll still be a struggle but you’ll have all the past few months to look back on and say “well I didn’t need I buy any then!”

      Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!


      1. This is the author, Kelly McGonigal, at a Habit Design Workshop, basically clearly explaining why Mindfulness is much more effective than Habits. Really, an amazing debunking of a lot of myths about habits in front of a crowd of people invested in habit making. She makes a lot of sense.


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