7 top tips for habit change - Tip 1

We all have habits. Some positive and healthy….others not so much. We also have our own theories about how to change those habits. 

Mostly they are theories around how just being MOTIVATED enough can lead to change. 

But, guess what? I’m afraid this isn’t true. Motivation is important, of course, but there is a wider gap than you think between being motivated to do something and actually doing it. 

I’m Siri Steinmo,  Behavioural Scientist here at Reset Health in this 7-day series ‘How to (really) change your habits’, every day for a week I’ll be introducing one simple, evidence-based tip for helping to build healthier habits. And without further ado…. 

Welcome to Tip Number 1: Reject the myth of willpower 

Ok. The idea that some people have amazing willpower all of the time and that YOU just dont is a fallacy. The truth is, willpower is context and time dependent and everybody inhibits fantastic willpower some of the time and in some contexts and negligible willpower at other times and in other contexts. For example, I may be great at getting myself to the gym at 6am, but terrible at getting the laptop out and finishing my work after I put my kids to bed. Note that I want and intend to do both of these things. Here it may be helpful to think of willpower as a wave… It comes and goes….. 

Also, willpower gets tired!  It’s fleeting. I might  have great willpower for avoiding nightly snacking on the sofa each night in the week before my beach holiday, but be unable to resist overeating at the buffet every day whilst on said holiday. Here I like to think of willpower as a rubber band…. You can only stretch it so far. 

Recognise this, depending on willpower to help you change something is a losing battle and will only make you feel bad about yourself.