Does Willpower Work?

ClaudetteSanDiego Posted: Wed, Mar 9 2011 11:49 AM

Many of us try to implement New Year's Resolutions into their lifestyle.  So many of us believe that we just need the will to do it.  We think if we just concentrate hard enough, if we get tough with ourselves we will adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

We try to find a reason to change our eating or exercise habits such as; "I want to look better in my clothes", or "I want to attract a new person in my life".  Finding reasons for change certainly motivate us.  Research at Stanford University found that small amounts of social support, whether it is from friends who encourage each other by e-mail to occasional meetings with a fitness counselor, can motivate us and  produce large and lasting gains. 

People trying to change unhealthy behaviors generally need something in addition to willpower.  "Whether it is smoking, alcohol use or physical inactivity, social support helps to prevent relapse," says Abby King, Stanford professor of Medicine, Health Research and Policy, who conducted the study.  The social support doesn't have to be constant.  "A light touch can have lasting effects," King added. 

This certainly makes the call for developing a support system with friends and family members via personal contact, phone calls and e-mails.  This brings up the question of how powerful is social support from friends and family members versus weight loss communities on the internet ? Stayed tuned for this next discussion.

What are your thoughts ?  What kind of support system do you have to help you stay on track ?  What have you found works and what doesn't seem to work ?