Willpower is something that we all need and seems to be lacking at this time of year. Two weeks into January and the resolutions are starting to crumble.  The first cold days have come and suddenly that urge to go running or go to the gym is not as strong as it was last week. Comfort food is calling, and some of the old bad habits can start to sneak back in, just for a day at first, and then…..

Positive words to boost willpower – photo by Shutterstock

If you have made resolutions and broken them before, you will probably recognise the pattern. You start off with conviction that this is the  year when it will happen, but then it starts to fade, especially if the reward (eg. your beach body)  is something that is a long way off and the comfort thing that is calling you is so easy to reach.

So how do you create motivation out of nothing when it starts to fade? Here are three tried and tested techniques, plus number 4, which you may not have heard of, but which could help you to reach your goals without needing willpower at all. See what you think…

Create and use Affirmations

Studies have found that if you believe yourself able to complete a task, you are actually more likely to be able to complete the task. This means that when you set your mind to a goal, you need to regularly affirm your ability to complete that goal. One of the best ways to do this is to remove phrases like “I can’t” from your vocabulary. Instead, make a habit of thinking positively about yourself and your goals. Focus on the goal every day and believe that every day you are taking steps towards it.

Using willpower for weight loss

Some people like to say positive affirmations out loud to themselves in the mirror.  “I am eating healthily and getting regular exercise – my body is becoming more slim and healthy every day”.  Focus on the good that is coming not the bad that is leaving (ie. don’t use the words “lose weight” in an affirmation).

Anticipate Roadblocks

When you set your mind on a task, consider what is going to interfere with your plans. Assume that glitches and obstacles will occur because they always do. However, your motivation doesn’t have to fall short when you run into these problems.


Troubleshoot ways to overcome these roadblocks and you’ll find that you get an instant boost to your willpower.

One example is finding the time to go to the gym after work. Keep exercise equipment handy and get a membership to a gym that stays open late. Being mindful and planning ahead are key elements.

If you have to eat out, plan ahead.  If you can, get the menu of the restaurant ahead of time, look at it and select something before you go.  Then you are not making choices when you are hungry and will not give into peer pressure.

The other thing to note about the inevitable glitches and roadblocks is that they do not have to mean the end of your plans.  Accept the little glitch or roadblock, note it learn from it and restart the normal programme the very next day.

Choose a Reward

This strategy may seem a little silly, but it’s actually been shown to be amazingly effective. Maybe you need to finish a project at work. Plan a fun night out with friends after the project is completed for motivation. It doesn’t have to be a huge reward, but you should pick something that is enjoyable and also motivating.


Keeping your willpower on track can be as easy as setting small rewards for yourself along the way. You’ll be surprised at how well this habit can work. The next time that you notice your motivation falling short, try this simple piece of advice.

How to bypass Willpower – Listen to the Voices in your Head

If you feel that you need a little boost for your weight loss or fitness programme then I have one amazing tool to recommend.  The company is called Thinking Slimmer and the products are Slimpod for weight loss and Fitpod to help you stick to your fitness programme. If you need both, then you can try the Slimpod Gold programme which  combines, Slimpod, Fitpod and Chillpod for stress, with twelve weeks of daily motivational emails. All of these products are reduced in price until the end of January – so pop over and check them out.

What you get is a 9 minute recording which you listen to every night before bed.  It seems too simple to work, but these recordings are clinically proven to retrain your brain.  Suddenly instead of the niggling voices in your head telling you to eat the comfort food and skip the gym session, you will find more motivation within you telling you to find healthy options, limit portion sizes and find fun ways to move your body and get exercise.  It seems uncanny and improbable, and yet thousands of people will tell you that it works.


 I set smart goals and take action

With the Slimpod programme you are encouraged to set goals, and the Slimpod/Fitpod will guide you to bring those goals to mind every day and visualise yourself achieving them.

You are also encouraged to note down your little successes and the things that move you towards your goal every day.  Noticing those successes every day and congratulating yourself for them, has the same effect as the big rewards above – your subconscious will realise that you feel happy when you choose health food and fitness and so it sends you more of the thoughts and suggestions which will continue that happiness.

So if your New Year’s Resolutions are needing a bit of a boost, I hope that you have found some suggestions here to keep your willpower on track and guide you towards the goals you have set in a fun and enjoyable way.

Disclosure – this article contains affiliate links – but all opinions are my own and I never promote products that I have not tried and believe in wholeheartedly.

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