Tag Archives: energy model

why willpower is really about intention

Willpower: the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions

Motivation: the desire to do; interest or drive

Intention: an aim that guides an action

The Huffington Post published a summary of Northwestern University’s study exploring the energy model of willpower. That is, the impact of mental vigilance, and subsequent depletion of mental resources, on blood glucose levels. The details are interesting so it’s worth a read. Simply stated, they found that when sensing a reward is coming, the brain is motivated to put in extra effort!

To me this reads that we must know why we are doing what we are doing in order to be motivated to do it! So, when thinking about your motivation, you must consider your intention (the ultimate reward) for that motivation. Then willpower happens. Simple, but now it seems that science is backing it up.

The next time you put your mind to something, create a goal for yourself or even begin your day tomorrow, set a clear intention for yourself about what you want to achieve, what you would like to get out of the day, or just the way you want to be in the world that day. Notice for yourself if having a clear intention for your day makes a difference. I bet it will.