By Bill Hemmer
My last two articles have explained health lies we have all been taught that keep us stuck. I have extracted these lies from a fabulous book, “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
The last article explained health lies 2 and 3. Multitasking doesn’t work, and you don’t need to be disciplined about your health 24/7/365, you just have to practice selective discipline. So, let’s continue this discussion.
Health Lie #4
You have been told for years, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Willpower has been touted as the best and most effective way to overcome any health problem. We have been taught we have a mysterious pot of willpower somewhere deep inside of us that we can tap into anytime we need it…but that is a lie!
Researchers in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s at the Stanford University Bing Nursery School demonstrated this fact nicely. Over 500 four-year-old children were asked to sit and wait to eat either a pretzel, a cookie, or a marshmallow for 15 minutes after the researcher had left the room. If the child waited the 15 minutes they would be given double the treats. This was a test to see if the child could resist the urge to eat the delicious treat, in other words, a test of willpower.
On average the children lasted 3 minutes. Only 3 out of 10 of the children could wait the full 15 minutes. Willpower was in short supply. Another name for willpower is delayed gratification. In 1981, these same researchers started to follow up with these same children and found something extremely interesting. The children with willpower, did significantly better in all areas of life. So, if you can delay your gratification you will be much more successful.
But when your willpower fails, you feel bad about yourself and you think something is wrong with you. This scenario plays out every day in kitchens, health clubs and homes all around the world. You feel like one of those 4-year-olds who only lasted three minutes.
Truth be told: You don’t have bucket of willpower waiting at your beckoned call. Willpower is a matter of timing not a measure of your moral constitution! You can learn to time your delayed gratification (willpower) to be just as effective as those children who could do it when they were 4!
Think of your willpower as the power bars on your cell phone. First thing in the morning after it is fully charged, you can certainly resist any cookie or marshmallow. But after a long day, your battery can be run down to almost empty and your willpower will do the same.
Also watch out for using too much willpower at any one time, or you won’t have enough left for the next temptation. You also must fill your willpower back up after you have used a significant amount of it by eating the right foods, getting enough rest and being around the right people.
Think of your willpower is a limited resource, like sleep or food. If you treat it that way and be strategic in the way you put yourself into situations, your ability to resist even the most tempting treats are almost guaranteed!
Therefore, Functional Health Recovery is designed to strategically build your willpower from the physical, chemical, and mental points of view and then conserve it to allow you to have the most reserve possible at any given point in time.
In my next article, we will continue this discussion with the next health lie…a balanced life!