This affects your willpower more than you realise

When I work with clients, I often explain to them how their brain works and how this has an impact on their food choices. One of the things that we often discuss is what that individual can to do boost their willpower to bring about changes to their food-related behaviours. The part of our brain responsible for our willpower is called the pre-frontal cortex - and technically, this part of our brain allows us to be the boss of our actions. The one with ultimate control over what we do.

Yet willpower is a funny thing. We often assume that we are completely in control of our choices - you know, we have free will and all that. However our willpower is actually influenced by something that most of us are not aware of ....

what other people are doing around us.

We are social animals - and we like to conform with what others are doing around us. Many experiments have been performed which demonstrate that our conscious choices are very strongly influenced by what we consider “normal” and by what the other people around us are doing. We love to conform. Have you ever noticed that when you go out with that one “healthy” friend that you make good food choices but as soon as you hang out with that person that loves wine, pizza and chocolate cake, that you find it really hard to resist these foods? That is completely normal. The people around us and even the foods around us affect our willpower even more than we realise.

So given that we love to conform, what can you do to boost your willpower if you want to make changes to your health and lifestyle?

1. Get those around you on board

One of the best ways to boost your willpower is to make it a group-change - bringing your family members and friends on board with your new healthy approach. Not only will they benefit but you are more likely to find the willpower to keep going too. You might have noticed that you are much more motivated to go to the gym when you have a friend to go with. That is no surprise. When you get those around you on board - you all stand to benefit.