Personal Project, Willpower

The Willpower Instinct Project – Week 6

McGonigal, Kelly - The Willpower InstinctAfter last week, I definitely noticed progress on the ridiculous snacking and overeating. That doesn’t mean I was 100% done with it, had a eww what is wrong with me moment on Thursday when I was eating subconsciously and caught myself. Any sort of progress these days is great!

This week McGonigal asked us to really look at how guilt, promise of relief and external circumstances affect our willpower, more specifically: relief when stressed, what terrifies us (news stories for example), how do we respond to setbacks and how we use our feel-good feelings.

In the past my stress release came from reading and eating junk food. I’ve, thankfully, cut back on the junk food and reading remains a stress release, but as I’ve mentioned on my new blog, meditation has really helped a lot with de-stressing and mental clarity recently. I don’t generally get stressed from external factors like the news or media, but I do often get stressed out think about my future and I have spent a lot of time over the past few months trying to stay in the moment and not fret so much about the future.

As for the last two, again, in the past I’ve done what I’m NOT supposed to do which was great to find out. When I faced a setback I would criticize myself and feel super guilty, I would respond with well great might as well go all out and eat as much as I want and miss as many days as I want as the damage is done, but thankfully that’s already changed (for the most part), but I still fight myself occasionally. The BIG eye-opener was that fantasizing about your future self to fix your feelings rather than taking steps is a huge willpower hurdle! I am most definitely guilty of doing that, but again, thankfully I’ve found a good probably 75:25 split of this where those fantasies spur on the activities needed to reach that future goal.

The experiments this week were rehashing things we’ve done in smaller steps in the earlier chapters: use stress-relief strategies that work (I read, exercised and meditated this week), try forgiveness when you fail (I didn’t get too mad at myself on Thursday when I was hovering food instead of going for a run, I just took a breather stopped eating and went for a walk instead), and create resolutions ahead of time. I am working on this last one with a schedule for this weeks meal plan: EVERYTHING will be on it and I can cross things off so this’ll give me the organization I need and will let me see when treats are coming!

Even though it didn’t feel like an active week, it definitely turned into an active week when it came to willpower. We’ll see where this week takes us with Chapter 7: Putting the Future on Sale: The Economics of Instant Gratification. (Not going to lie, probably the most stress inducing titled chapter so far!)

Check out previous weeks’ posts below:

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5 thoughts on “The Willpower Instinct Project – Week 6”

  1. I used to practice Transcendental Meditation and it really did help with stress. I liked your comment about forgiving yourself rather than beating yourself up over things that you failed to do or that didn’t go the way they should

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