Ego Depletion: Willpower Burnout


Mindmapping is a technique I learned a long time ago.  While this is not one of mine, it certainly illustrates the multitude of thoughts and habits needed to live among the 5 pillars of health.  It all sounds so easy at first.  Mind, Water, Breath, Nutrition, & Exercise.

Now, if you look at all the little tiny branches, you begin to see habits that we need to establish or change with each part and piece of each pillar.

OMG!  Overwhelming, isn’t it.

THEN something like this happens


The “Willpower is like a muscle” quote is out there in several variations….

The more you train it, the stronger it gets

The more you use it, the stronger it gets

It requires training to strengthen it

It gets stronger the more you exercise it

Even with the most self-esteem and self-confidence, seeing this and reading the quote with it, can plant a seed that we need to try harder.  Push your will power. Then that stupid little voice inside starts to argue with the esteem and confidence voice.  It’s just an excuse, your not trying hard enough, your not enough, your lazy, no wonder your fat, blah…blah….blah….  The negative things we say to ourselves becomes just as overwhelming as the mind map of the pillars of health.


I found a little secret that is working for me



No, this isn’t about yoga and the spiritual, soul side, the whole “let it go” , there is no ego in yoga, it’s about the study of  and psychology of willpower


Have you heard of “ego depletion”?  Basically, in a nutshell, it means everyone has a limit to their own willpower.  Once it’s gone, it becomes very difficult to focus and we succumb to temptations, especially the ones we are trying to avoid.   Further defined (taken from wikipedia) Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower draws upon a limited pool of mental resource that can be used up.   In addition, a depleting task requiring self-control can have a hindering effect on a subsequent self-controlled task, even if they are unrelated.

I found this term while reading one of S.J. Scott’s habit books!  My first S. J. Scott book was “Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less
and I can honestly say it was the finishing touch of the things I already knew because it helped me to put action behind it.  I highly recommend his blog – Develop Good Habits.  My first habit change was simple.  Making the bed every day.   It sounds so simple but how it changed many other things is amazing!


 lego habits

In all my years of blogging, and honestly, years before that, I admired and even desired to be more organized, yet avoided routine, believing from my creative artist point of view, that routine and structure was not in my make-up and would stifle my creativity.  I am learning that is the farthest thing from the truth.

When you study people who are successful, whether that is in the health and fitness arena, the business arena, or other avenues of pursuit, one of the top 5 qualities is consistency and commitment.  I am learning it is a heck of a lot easier to follow those qualities with the habits needed.  So, as a forewarning, I will be talking a lot more about this whole stacking habits concept in upcoming posts.   But here is a blast from the past that actually brings this full circle for me and brought me to tears!


Back in November 2012, I wrote a post about Spinning my Wheels and references the Wheel of Life I learned about while involved with a personal coach and highly considering my own business practice of being a personal life coach.  If you go back further in my archives, my first posts in July of 2009, were the Slice of Life Diet posts utilizing each of the slices on the wheel.   THAT was my entire intent behind my blogging.

What I combined with that wheel of life theory was my own definition of GOALS™ Good Orderly Actions Leading to Success.   What I missed was the actions needed to become habits first!   Goals need to coincide with your values and your personality.  Our habits don’t always lead us in the same direction.

What do you think of the term “ego depletion”?

Now the challenge, pick a tiny, tiny habit that is not about body image, weight, or strength…..

What is it and what area on the wheel of life does it fall into?

Unconscious Body

This year, I decided a goal for me was to become a “Curvy Yoga” teacher.  I gave myself a 5 year goal.  Intuition and maybe morning pages writings point me toward this direction.  I checked into the cost of training, the amount of hours, and asked myself why I feel so strongly about this and […]

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The Softer Side of Strength


How do you define Strength?  Now, how do you describe Exercise?   What are the feelings that each of those stir within you? Write those down and set them aside for a minute or two. I did this questioning a while back and it set me on a path that seemingly flipped my world upside […]

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Subtle Changes


   What weighed on my mind during my hiatus was, Where do I go from here?  I discovered my love of writing through the comfort zone of  decorative journals when I started writing morning pages 20 plus years ago.    Eventually, that evolved into blog writing and the pursuit of my art with words.   […]

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Live Life Brilliantly – Madison – Reed

New Me

Have you ever had a bad hair day? How did it make you feel? Did it ruin your entire day? For me, it is worse than the feeling of stepping on the scale and seeing the needle move in the wrong direction! Not any more~ Just like my tagline – It’s the Attitude, Not the […]

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Letting Go of Disappointment


Disappointment seems to be the hardest thing for me to let go of.   In fact, it is the hardest “feeling” for me to feel and, in the past, I have done some of my greatest mind tricks to avoid feeling it at all cost.   It is this feeling that has driven many behaviors […]

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Willing to Confront the Void


Art~ It moves you!  It stirs emotions, long held, that you may not acknowledge what they are. The piece on the left is “Freedom” by Zenos Frudakis and lives at 16th & Vine in Philadelphia.  It is a bronze sculpture that stands 8 feet tall and 20 feet long.   One day, I will go […]

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In a Quiet Voice


I wonder, lately, if all my efforts to quiet my mind, have quieted my voice.  Daily, the desire to write flows through my veins, yet the page sits utterly blank, other than the top line with the date glaring at me, as yet another day passes. 8/18/14 ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________   […]

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Lead with Your Heart


FOLLOW YOUR HEART I don’t know where it came from really.  I had a “sense” early on in my life to follow my heart.  Whether that was from my artistic self or just another means to escape the reality of physicality, I took on “following my heart” like Dorothy took to “following the yellow brick […]

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Is Physicality a Foreign Language to you?


During my self-imposed hiatus from the healthy living facebook and blogging community, I was forced to face, head-on,   the foreign language of physicality. Defined by Miriam-Webster physicality is an intensely physical orientation, predominance of the physical, usually at the expense of the mental, spiritual, or social or simply defined as a physical aspect or quality. […]

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