Book: The Willpower Instinct

the-will-power-instinct_Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal teaches a popular class on willpower at Stanford University.   She’s shared its contents in her book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More Of It.  As we seek to pursue new habits, to persist in creative work, or to overcome obstacles, the mindfulness techniques in this book can be powerful tools.  The ideas in this book might help you in developing your own home yoga practice or in attending classes more regularly.  It may also help you better appreciate exactly what it is we’re cultivating on the yoga mat.

Each chapter provides numerous studies and practical applications on the neurological, societal, psychological and physical factors for willpower.

Lessons for Yogis:

MINDFULNESS is the key to developing willpower!  What we practice during yoga can help us  respond to many thought patterns that might otherwise lead us mindlessly into a bad habit:

1) Negative self-talk: Notice when you feel bad about yourself.  Do you immediately want to relieve that feeling with something of comfort? When we learn to acknowledge and breathe through these feelings, we can successfully move past the temptation for treats.

2) Cravings: Shoving unwanted thoughts out of your mind without acknowledging them first can only make them multiply.  We can recognize a craving and then choose not to act upon it.  It’s important to look at your thoughts so that you can see that you have a choice.

3) Controlling Rules: When we become aware that we’re being overly strict on ourselves, we can practice letting go. We will exhaust ourselves if we exert excessive control on every detail of our lives.  With all things, we can strive for balance.


It’s tree-free on the kindle!  You can get a free chapter sample that way too… or an audiobooks sample.  I bet your library has it, too.  I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook during the ol’ morning commute.