The Myth of Willpower

Came across this response to “Can Brain Science Help Us Break Bad Habits?” over at the New Yorker.

The biggest myth we’ve been sold is that success is due simply to willpower.

Joe Holder’s Instagram Story

This aligns with James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits.” It’s not about saying “I can’t smoke,” it’s about “I am a person who doesn’t smoke.” Building systems, from the basic beliefs and creating new habits, is core, not just the white-knuckled facade of “willpower.”

It’s easier for me these days to avoid mindlessly snacking on junk food because of a belief. I no longer buy bags of Oreo’s or chips at the grocery store because I am a runner. That’s not to say I don’t snack, or that runners CAN’T eat those things, but I have a bad habit of buying those things then eating the whole bag in a day.

So my plan to not devour a bag of Oreo’s in a day is not WILLPOWER.

It’s belief, identity. Those things keep me from putting those items in my grocery cart nine times out of 10.