COVID-19 Support: Can you buy willpower?

You’re probably experiencing something right now that’s pretty frustrating: a lack of willpower. A lack of willpower can show up in a variety of ways, anything from being unable to stop watching netflix, to being unable to resist binge eating your favorite junk food. 


So why has your willpower decreased?


Stress is one of the biggest impacts on willpower, and let’s face it: COVID-19 is bringing on a whole new level of stress. For many of our clients who have transitioned to work from home, stress shows up in adjusting to the new work process, a shake up in routine, but also being home with their family a lot more than they are used to. 


Willpower is your ability to resist things and your drive to accomplish goals. Now, willpower is not infinite…you only have a certain amount of willpower per day and it gets recycled the next day! You also don’t have multiple wells of willpower, like one for your marriage, one for your work, and one for your fitness goals. You only have ONE set of willpower. 


A good way to think about your willpower is it’s like the battery on your phone: you use up battery life by scrolling, using aps, making phone calls, and by the end of the day you’re almost on empty. The things you do in your day to day life eat up your willpower, which is why things like binge eating usually happens at night when your willpower is super low. 

In addition to stress, multitasking is a huge way to decrease your willpower. The more you try to do at once, just like your phone, the faster your willpower gets eaten up.


The last thing that eats up your willpower, especially when it comes to your fitness and nutrition goals, is resistance. The more you resist something throughout the day, the harder it is to resist long term (like those cookies in the cupboard).


You may be asking yourself by now: well, how do I protect my willpower?


The answer is as simple as it can be challenging: create an environment to succeed.


You’re only tempted by the things you desire, so you have to create an environment that allows you to avoid the things you desire instead of resist. Willpower will always fail, so it’s important to set up boundaries that support your goals instead of hinder them.



Step 1: Change your Environment


This may mean cleaning out your pantry, or fridge. Maybe it’s dedicating a certain area of your house for exercise and a certain area for work. Maybe it’s taking your food with you into your home office so you don’t have to resist eating things that won’t bring you towards your goals. The bottom line is, if you don’t have guards up it’s hard to shoot the straight and narrow. And once you reset your environment, don’t let it go back to the way it was! Don’t stock your favorite junk foods in the house, and if you must have them make sure you go out to get them and eat them outside of your house!


Step 2: Create an Accountability and Measurement of Success System


If you are concerned about your health during this time, you need to set up a self-accountability system. Maybe it is stepping on the scale every morning or taking tape measurements once a week, or maybe it’s trying on that pair of jeans that fit you 5 years ago every week to see if they get tighter or looser. Get creative! If you don’t track your success it’s easy to give up and stop making your goals a priority.


Step 3: Establish a Routine


95% of your bodily functions you do without any effort on your part. When was the last time you had to remember to breathe? Never! By establishing a routine that moves you towards your goals, it allows you to put more of your habits on auto-pilot, lowering the resistance and multitasking actions that deplete your willpower.


We hope these strategies help when it comes to staying steady with your goals during COVID-19. We know that under times of duress, it’s challenging to stay on track, which is why we work remotely with our clients to ensure they have someone to hold them accountable and coach them through the sticky points that they’re facing on a daily basis. If you need the extra support, don’t hesitate to reach out at 302-689-3489 or email


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