Why Willpower is Never Enough

There’s a lot of talk these days about money mindset. But few are aware of the brain’s role in their financial success. 


In a recent experiment, at the University of South Wales, students were told: “Whatever you do, don’t think about a red apple.” As you’d expect, most couldn’t get that image out of their mind. Which is quite normal.


But what about those who swore they’d successfully eradicated the image from their mind?


Well, according to brain scans, “even those people who are good at suppressing certain thoughts still harbor traces of the thought in [their brain’s] cortex.” 

Because any deeply embedded thought—like “There’s never enough”—exerts an irrepressible force to behave accordingly, regardless of your efforts to change. 

Willpower—trying not to think about buying those to-die-for designer shoes—is a fruitless task. A far better (and easier) solution is thought substitution rather than mind control.

Instead of trying NOT to think about NOT buying the designer shoes, replace that thought with a radically different thought, like imagining a surplus of cash in your savings account. 

“Using brute force to not think about something simply won’t work,” noted the study, “Because the thought is actually there in our brains.”

From now on, if you’re struggling to spend less or earn more, stop trying to use willpower and focus on rewiring your brain.  Calmly and consistently repeat positive affirmations, such as:  I love watching my bank balance grow; It’s so fun to save; I am smart with money.

Reiterating positive statements is not some silly new-age game.  It’s a proven scientific tool. Whatever you give attention to strengthens desired neuropathways. Whatever you ignore, weakens the old dysfunctional ones.

Is there a habit you’ve been trying to change through willpower? Are you willing to use this method instead? Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Lisa

    Waking up to exercise is a habit I’ve been trying to form over the last few years. Naturally, I feel slow, groggy and sleepy when I wake up and sometimes hit the snooze button to sleep longer instead of doing an energetic workout.

    Instead of saying “I don’t want to exercise” or “I want to sleep longer” I say to myself “I love how the day goes right when I wake up to exercise”, “I love the vitality I feel when I exercise”, “ I love how positive I am when I exercise” and “I love how confident and good I feel in my clothes when I exercise”.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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