Willpower and Purpose

Beginning of new year, how many people start with resolution? Something that they want to achieve in the new year? Study shows that Gym membership rise in January, then dip sharply in February, just after those who want to lose weight and get healthier run out of willpower to keep their new year resolution.

It doesn’t happen only to new year resolution, but to anything that is motivated by willpower alone. How many people want to eat healthier, wake up earlier, quit smoking and drinking, and only able to maintain it for so long before finding excuse to stop? “Someone’s birthday party”, common excuse to start eating garbage.

Compare that with someone who just survived a heart attack, or lung cancer. When someone got so close with death, their motivation usually come from purpose to live longer, to see their kids grow up. And someone with such purpose will mostly able to quit smoking and eat healthier for the rest of their life.

Willpower is limited. It easily run dry when situation get tough. A gym class might easily get skipped when boss calling from office. And it is hard to resist ordering a box of pizza at 7pm in the office. But many people will no to a sudden request to stay longer in the office, because it is his son’s birthday, and his purpose is to make his family happy.

So, while the new year is still fresh, let me end this post with a question of self-reflection: What motivates your new year resolution? Willpower, or purpose?

Other good reading in the topic:

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