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The Surprising Key to Willpower

willpower photoNew Year’s is the classic time to resolve to form new habits, but most of us then abandon our good intentions by mid-February, if not before.

It turns out that our willpower comes, not from the sincerity of our resolve, but from the glucose level in our bloodstream.The brain runs on glucose. Even when not working hard, the brain consumes 25% of circulating glucose, even though it only takes up 3% of the body’s weight.

willpower photoDecision-making is especially taxing, and the brain burns glucose like crazy when it’s forced to make lots of fine-grained choices over an extended period of time. We didn’t evolve to take long multiple-choice exams, select china patterns, sort through retirement plan options or judge parole cases; processing such masses of details quickly exhausts our brain so that after a while we begin making poor choices. It’s not a coincidence that most of us lose our dieting resolve and give in to sugary treats later in the day.

You can read more about willpower and glucose in this good article:


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The Surprising Key to Willpower

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS is an educator, counselor, writer and speaker. She's been a tutor, test prep coach and home school teacher for over thirty years. Click HERE to visit Leigh's website and to subscribe to her newsletter, "Learning Something New."

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APA Reference
Cousins, L. (2015). The Surprising Key to Willpower. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Dec 2015
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