Book Review: The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.

The ice cream is just screaming at me from the freezer.  Do I reach for it and get immediate gratification only to regret it later?  Or do I just try to banish the thought of creamy vanilla goodness from my head?

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There isn’t a better time of year to read The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. than the beginning of a new year.   Resolutions are made and most of the time, resolutions are broken by early February.   The problem with keeping our resolutions usually lies in willpower or lack thereof.

In The Willpower Instinct, McGonigal takes the reader of a self-help journey into understanding willpower and the science behind it.  Before I read the book, I thought that willpower was all in my head.  To grab or not to grab that ice cream was just a thought in my brain and not a physiological response to the stimulus (ice cream).  The author explains to the readers the science behind why we do things and then provides strategies for how to change.

The chapter that spoke to me was Chapter 2: Your Body Was Born To Resist Cheesecake.  As a runner, I always knew that running makes my mind and body feel good.  I am more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle while in training.  I eat better, I get more sleep and my willpower is strong.  In Chapter 2, McGonigal explains to the readers that exercise is a wonder drug for willpower and self-control.   A study out of Sydney, Australia gave 24 people free memberships to the gym and after just 2 months, the participants ate less junk food, saved more money and felt more in control of their emotions.  Exercise really is a miracle drug!

If you are starting a new diet, getting fit or trying to save more money, this book has the ability to help anyone.

You can find out more about Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct in BlogHer Book Club.   Read Kelly McGonigal’s bio, read and excerpt of The Willpower Instinct or join the discussion here.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.


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