Thursday, November 3, 2011


 who doesn't need more willpower?  but did you know that your willpower is strengthened with glucose?  no glucose, no willpower. (p.49)  here's another good quote: when you're sick, save your glucose for your immune system.  in short, stay home and rest.  the immune system needs lots of glucose to fight the infection, so your brain doesn't get as much.  this is why: driving a car when you have a bad cold has been found to be even more dangerous than driving when mildly intoxicated. (p.59) 
this book is compelling!  the section about decision fatigue and how parole judges are more lenient earlier in the day and just after lunch is fascinating.  they get tired of thinking and making decisions, and become more cautious.  (perhaps their glucose is also running low by late morning?)  

one thing that helps willpower is precommitment.  that is, decide before hand what will happen and what you will do.  the authors give a really great example with henry morton stanley, who explored africa in the 1800s.  despite hardships such as not enough food and major sicknesses, stanley reminds himself that he has taken an oath to complete his explorations.  

lately my willpower has not gotten me out of bed before school to exercise.  since the half marathon, my momentum has lagged.  at the same time, teachers need lots of sleep to stay healthy.  i'm always working the balance of priorities.  

how's your willpower doing?


  1. Sounds like a very thought provoking read. Have you ever read the Frog and Toad story about willpower? It's hilarious (having to do with cookies being places as far out of reach as possible).

    Anyhow, willpower is not one of my top 10 qualities, but I sure could use some more. (As Frog and Toad would say, "Where can I get some?")

  2. Heidi, I LOVE that story. It makes me laugh, and it is so true! Doesn't Frog throw the cookies to the birds, and then Toad is sad that they have no cookies. Frog says yes, but they have lots and lots of willpower. Then Toad tells Frog he can HAVE the willpower, he is going home to make a cake! I share that one with my students every year.

    Thanks for reminding me!

  3. My willpower hasn't gotten me out of bed to exercise in the mornings either. ;) Especially chilly rainy mornings. Thanks for this post...I'll work harder.

  4. Fascinating! I can totally believe the thing about judges and low glucose. I know if I haven't eaten in a while I can't even make a decision on a place to eat (or what to eat). I could definitely use more willpower. I think maybe I should eat some more halloween candy. :-P

  5. Sounds like a great read Noreen and it has just gone on my (very long) list. Willpower is not one of my strong points but I'm working on it. Though I have the funny feeling that even if you do get it under control, you still have to work pretty hard to keep it!
    So lovely to find your blog via BYW,
    Allison x

  6. i have incredible will power.. very tenacious... but demons take over my mind and body from time to time and wreak havoc on my best laid intentions...

    perhaps i need to read this book and discover that maybe lack of glucose... not motivation that is my problem...

    we shall all stand together and fight the demons!

    and i never understood that frog story.. if the cookies aren't there then no will power is needed... only if one has an overabundance of cookies or whatever do we need the will power to resist... i have many male friends who claim that a man is only as loyal as his opportunities... so middle aged bald men don't need as much will power as 20 something nfl players...

    love your blog... it is full of delightful tidbits!


  7. My willpower hasn't gotten me out of bed to exercise in the mornings either. Maybe now summer is upon us here? I hope so. A half marathon! Impressive! xxx

  8. Michelle - exactly! In the book it says when you have something more important than weight to think about (giving up smoking, say, or something stressful), don't worry too much about the food. Try to eat healthy, but you need the glucose.

    Jojo - I understand your comment about Frog and Toad. That's what makes it funny to me! If I don't want to eat chocolate marshmallow cookies, I better not have them in the house!

  9. I'll have to add this book to my must-read list. Thanks for the recommendation. Like Jojo, I have great will power, EXCEPT when I haven't had enough sleep and am tired. Then I have no energy to exercise and try to get energy from all the wrong food choices (hello, Halloween candy bowl!).
    I think sleep is the best antidote for, well, anything. Great post, Noreen.

  10. My willpower is usually directly tied to accountability. If someone besides me is holding me accountable I can muster it. If not, no way. My husband has a tremendous amount of willpower and is a huge inspiration to me.


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