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I can't seem to get anything right

 I can’t seem to get anything right (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

Why can’t I lose weight? Or go running regularly? I am bad at revising for exams too!

What’s wrong with me?

No willpower

 Chris says,

Hi, No Willpower!

We all have trouble with our willpower. Especially when we are tired or hungry, supermarkets discovered that years ago. When you’re tired after filling your trolley, you are more likely to be tempted by sweets. Hence the chocolate bars by the checkout.

So tackle all your important stuff in the morning, after a good breakfast!

Willpower is also a struggle if you are working on several projects simultaneously. Because whenever you work on one, you reduce your reserves of self-control. If you are trying to drink less, lose weight, and read more, the more effort you put into one, the less you’ll have for the others.

So instead of doing everything all at once, try doing one thing at a time. Start with the easiest, because succeeding with the first will strengthen your willpower for the others.

And get enough sleep. Because being tired also messes with your decision-making. Which is why things go wrong in the evening. You are more likely to skip the gym after work compared to the morning. Diets fall apart. Impulsive crimes are mostly committed after midnight.

Developing good routines also helps. Minimising stress. And you are avoiding temptation. So allow enough time to finish your work. Think over problems overnight. Avoid back-to-back meetings. And all-you-can-eat buffets!

Keep an eye on your friends, because behaviours are catching. So if your best mate’s putting on weight, you’re likely to as well. If your colleagues are cutting back on calories, so will you. Sticking at things is also easier if there are two of you. So instead of having to persuade yourself to go running every morning, set up a schedule with a friend. 

Willpower grows the more it is used. And that matters, because you need self-control to be successful.

All the best,


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