Will Power Or Will Not

by DavalosMcCormack on February 24, 2010

A close friend of mine was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It wasn’t a huge surprise. She hadn’t been taking care of herself; she ate a diet heavy in fats and sweets, and got very little exercise. She also has a family history of diabetes so with that kind of background and that kind of lifestyle everything was heading in one direction.

Even so, she was a little taken aback when she got the diagnosis.

Fortunately the disease was caught early, before any real damage had been done, and she was given some reading materials on how to take better care of herself. She was also given a session with a nutritionist who gave her advice on her diet, the kinds of food she could eat and the kind she should try and avoid.

There were no absolutes – no “you can never eat chocolate again” rules – just general guidelines.

Six months later she admits she is doing a poor job of making those lifestyle changes, of doing the things she needs to do to avoid having to take medications like insulin or, more seriously, of having complications such as damage to her kidneys or eyes.

When I asked her why she hadn’t made the changes she simply said “I just don’t have any will power.”

Now, most of us struggle from time to time, or maybe even all the time, with will power. For some the source of their temptation is chocolate or candy, for others it’s alcohol or drugs. None of us is immune to the problem and sooner or later we all give in to the temptation, albeit usually temporarily. But in my friends case it wasn’t that she was struggling with the temptation, she had given up even trying to fight it.

By telling herself she had no will power she was saying to herself she couldn’t control her urges or desires. In essence she was giving herself permission to fail.

There’s an old saying that comes to mind; “We are not what we think we are, but what we think, we are”

In other words the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves become our reality. If we tell ourselves we can’t do something we don’t do it. If we tell ourselves we have no will power we will have no will power.

The only problem is when  you try telling yourself you don’t have diabetes. Your brain may hear but your body has a mind of its own.

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