Ep #67: Willpower Vs. Brain Power

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Willpower Vs. Brain Power

Is the new year a powerful time for you? Do you have more energy and renewed commitment, and feel more motivated?

It’s a beautiful thing to feel motivated towards your goals. However, this feeling isn’t going to last forever.  There will be days when the motivation isn’t there.

This is when most people try and use willpower to muster up the energy and motivation.  That’s one way to fuel yourself but there are disadvantages to this way.  I prefer to rely on brain power as it feels better and leads to lasting results.  Take a listen this week to learn how to harness your brain power to get lasting change.


Are you wanting to learn the skills to control your drinking? If so, I invite you to join Drink Less Lifestyle. It’s where you learn how to become a woman who can take it or leave it, love your life, and be healthy again. Join Drink Less Lifestyle here!


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How to know when you’re relying on brain power to move you towards your goals.
  • Why brain power will get you further than willpower towards lasting change.
  • How to harness the power of your brain.


Featured on the Show:

Download my free guide How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit.

If you’re loving this podcast, please rate and review this podcast and help others discover their Drink Less Lifestyle.

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 67.

Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.

Well, hello my beautiful friends. Welcome to a new year. Hey, if you’re new to this podcast I welcome you. And for all of you who have been listening to me for a long time, I appreciate you too. I wish everyone a happy new year. And I haven’t asked for a while but if you are a fan of this podcast I would love it if you would leave me a review on Apple iTunes, that would be so appreciated. I read all of your comments. And I love the feedback you give, I love the insight you give. And I love hearing how this podcast has been helping you.

Alright, for today I want to jump right in and talk about using willpower versus our brain power. Now, the new year is a great time to start anew with a clean slate, a fresh start. But notice how starting a new year feels for you. Is it a powerful time for you? Do you have renewed energy, renewed commitments and do you feel even more focused or more motivated because it’s the new year?

These are some of the questions that I am asking the ladies inside Epic You, because this month it’s all about designing our entire year. Because there’s a group of ladies who are results focused and want to achieve our goals. It is important that we highlight when they’ll be done and creating the appropriate path to get us there. Because here’s the thing ladies, we can beat ourselves to get to our goals or we can love ourselves and enjoy the journey and enjoy the ride there. And I’d rather be part of the latter group.

So if you’re ready to get to your goals, whether they’re drinking less, losing weight, having more confidence, having greater relationships, I like to call them world class relationships. And if you’ve been following me and you’re on my newsletter list you know that we just redesigned Epic You and it is even more epic this year. I am so excited to see the progress and the transformations going to come out of the lades in the program, which brings me back to how does this new year sit for you?

Are you feeling motivated? How is your energy level? Because when something is exciting when it’s there and we have that powerful energy, we want to harness it, we want to use it, we want to use it to the best of our ability. It’s a beautiful thing when you feel motivated towards your meaningful goals. And I know for me when I’m in this space it’s like it’s fueling my healthy desires. And I love when I get that energy to fuel my own health and my own vitality.

And I love honoring that desire, that yearning for a better way to be in the world or a better way to treat my mind, body and soul. And if you notice, you probably hear it in my voice, it’s that exciting energy, it’s that energy that’s fueling me, that feels so powerful, that feels like nothing can stop me, nothing can get in my way. Now, I know this is how my body responds each year to a new year. I love that rebirth. I love that we can wipe the slate clean. And I love that I have this natural yearning to make positive changes in my life this time of year.

And what I also know is that feeling, this feeling that I have right now won’t last forever. And knowing me that gives me so much more power. Because now I realize I have to harness this and see exactly how I’m getting this energy and how it’s fueling me, because I don’t want to waste it. I don’t want to squander it. And when I don’t have it I don’t want it to mean that I’m less likely to achieve my goals. So for me, harnessing this power means I’m going to allow it to fuel me.

And I also know where this comes from. It comes from my brain, it comes from the belief that this year I can achieve my goals. It comes from the power of my brain, that’s my brain’s power. That’s my brain power creating this. My brain is the creator of this energy and it’s what’s going to drive me to achieve new goals for this year. And ladies, can I just tell you, our brains are so powerful and if we can use them to fuel us, we get to our goals so much quicker. Now, this was something I had to learn.

I didn’t know that there was a way you can tap into your brain’s power to use it to accomplish your goals. I thought you just had to use willpower. I thought you just had to grin and get through it. I thought no pain no gain. I had heard all these things in terms of the gym and knowing that struggle and continuous effort, made progress. But I didn’t realize the type of effort can be different, the type of fuel behind that effort can be so different. And that type of fuel changes if we get to the goal or not.

So before I learned the tool of how to tap into my brain’s power I would think people would achieve their goals based on all kinds of things, how lucky they were based on their DNA, having a passion in life or some other special trait that gave them a leg up. Maybe it’s who they know, maybe it’s who they connected with, maybe they were from money or not from a lot of money but wanted to be from money one day.

Again, that passion, that fuel, but when you talk to people who are entrepreneurs, or people who have made a dent in the world or have done their dreams and accomplished their dreams and their goals. You never really hear them say it’s about luck or great family genes. What you hear is that they are deeply attuned to who they are and what they want. And you never read about it coming easy to many people. Most people they have to work at it.

But when we see the end result we just think it must be nice to be there. But there is a lot of work to get there. So we know work’s not the limiting factor. We know everybody has to work to get to their goals. But notice what never comes up when you hear someone being interviewed or read a book by somebody who’s accomplished great things. They never say that it was because they had willpower. They just stuck on through.

Now, I talked about willpower before on the podcast and the definition of willpower is forcing yourself to do something that you really don’t want to be doing. Because as I mentioned before, willpower is finite. It only lasts a certain period of time and then we wonder where it went and how come we can’t get it back. And if we look at the accomplishments in life, and by people, nobody’s ever said, “I got there on willpower.” We never saw an Olympian who won the gold medal, or silver, or bronze and said, “Yeah, it was just willpower.”

And people who overcome bad habits or addictions, they don’t say it was based on willpower. Because we all know when we rely on our willpower, we fall right back into the habit. And boy, I know, I’ve done that over and over. It would be like, oh, it’s the month of January, it’s a dry January, I’m not going to drink all of January. I’m going to use willpower to make it through till February 1.

And I relied solely on willpower. I just had to get through January. Do you feel that force that I’m saying that with? That’s exactly how my brain thought about it, well, no alcohol for this month, I’ll get to have it next month. And of course I’m counting the days as they go by, feeling good about, hey, I haven’t had any alcohol yet. But willpower doesn’t get us to our goals. It leaves out a big portion. It leaves out, hey, what happens next when it comes to February 1st, then what’s my goal? Do I just extend it out or do I allow alcohol in?

And if I do allow alcohol back in, what does that look like? And these are questions that we don’t really ever address or answer, at least I never did. I was like, yeah, I’ll allow a little bit in but I’m only going to allow just a few drinks. But I didn’t know how I was going to allow it. I didn’t know how to change my relationship with alcohol. I thought just taking the break would be enough. It was like I was using willpower to take the right actions throughout the month of January, despite how I felt.

So if I wanted a drink, no, I wouldn’t drink, I’m going to use willpower, just going to get through the month. And so willpower taught me it’s just about taking the right action to drink or not to drink. And of course in January I wasn’t drinking. And I was forcing myself to be this way. And when you’re forcing yourself that feels like negative energy. That feels like you’re doing it from a place of, well, I can’t really be in charge of my alcohol so let me just take some time off and hopefully that will change how I feel about alcohol, how I think about it.

And I’ve done this too in other areas of my life, when I really want to go hardcore on losing weight, I’ll only focus on eating chicken and broccoli and healthy things. And in my mind the only healthy things that appear in my mind are chicken and broccoli. And that’s what willpower focuses on, what you get to do or what you don’t get to do. It’s all about the action. And if you’re taking the right action, what does your brain say? You’re good today, it’s a good day, you’re a good person, you didn’t have the drink, you ate the chicken and broccoli, all is good. You’re good.

Suddenly your worth is tied up into what you eat or don’t drink. And how long is that activity going to last if you’re truly not enjoying it and if it’s truly not a desirable activity? So when you don’t drink for a whole month and that is your main source of joy, fun, maybe entertainment, way to socialize, maybe for some people it’s the only true way they enjoy themselves or let loose, or not feel lonely. So when you don’t drink you don’t feel particularly fun, particularly joyful or like socializing.

Or you don’t know how to let loose or maybe enjoy yourself when alcohol is not around. Chances are then this won’t be sustainable long term because all you’ve done is remove alcohol from the equation but you haven’t replaced it with skills. However, when you use brain power, now you’re focused on learning skills and tools that bring pleasure and joy into your life. And you learn how to let loose without alcohol. You learn how to enjoy yourself without alcohol. Or you learn that you can socialize and not need it.

When you’re tapping into your brain power you’re actually teaching your brain. And when your brain can see that your life is no different if alcohol is in it or not in it, guess what you’re going to desire less of? Yeah, you’re going to desire less drinks because you’re learning how to be with yourself and create the life that you want without so much alcohol in it, or maybe with none in it. So when I’m teaching clients on how to tap into their brain power we’re talking about bringing in joy, bringing in happiness, bringing in pleasure to their life and going after their dreams.

It’s not just a life of being without alcohol. Nobody wants to subtract the joy in their life without adding some back in somehow. So notice how willpower focuses on what you’re doing, eating the chicken and broccoli or what you’re not doing, not drinking. Notice it really focuses on the action. So then what do you internalize from that? Well, it looks like this, if you didn’t drink today your brain says, “Good job, you’re a good person, you stuck to your goals.”

However, if you broke the streak what happens? Your brain says, “Oh, you drank today, that sucked, you suck.” We internalize it to mean we are bad people or that we are broken somehow, or that we just can’t do it. Notice that the focus is still on the drink, it’s on the action, did we drink it or didn’t we drink it. The focus is on the alcohol. And this we internalize to either feel successful about ourselves or crappy about ourselves.

So I really want to stress this point because willpower only lasts for so long and willpower has you focused on the action only. But we all know it leads to drinking, what leads to the action, what leads to getting it out of the fridge, pouring it, buying it, what leads to that action? Not the alcohol. It’s how we feel about it. It’s how we think about the alcohol. If we think we need that drink to relax, of course your body is going to desire it. What body walking around this planet doesn’t want to relax, especially in stressful times?

So if we’re only focused on the action we’re going to miss all of the stuff that comes before it. We’re going to miss the huge opportunity we have to become powerful over it. Noticing how we’re thinking, how we’re feeling, that’s leading to the action. So using willpower misses this big, humongous step. And when you just work on the action part you miss the bigger opportunity to get results quicker, faster and with permanent change.

Because when you focus on not just the action but the entire cycle, the entire process, now you’re working on your neural pathways in the brain, the stories you tell yourself about alcohol. And when you do this work on a deeper level you’re creating brain power. You’re tapping into your own power. And just think about that.

Let me give you a scenario. Just think if your brain did not think about alcohol. Just think it never crossed your mind. Imagine going through the entire day or your entire week where alcohol isn’t even on your mind. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not going to create desire for it and you’re not going to take the action of drinking it. So this is why willpower fails. It looks at one part of the process rather than the root cause of what’s driving the drinking. And you know what we focus on, expands.

So the more we focus on the alcohol the more our brain’s going to desire it. And wouldn’t it be lovely to have a brain that just didn’t think much about alcohol at all. And that’s powerful. When you can rewire your neural circuitry where alcohol really isn’t on the brain all that much. Isn’t that what you truly desire? And this my friends is what leads to permanent change.

So as I look back on where I was successful and where I wasn’t successful, I know that willpower for me was short lived. I also know that willpower made me feel like I was the problem, because if I didn’t have enough willpower that night I would drink and then I would blame myself. Now when you switch and use your brain power, this makes you feel like you’re the solution and that is the truth my friends, you are the solution. Your brain is the solution.

When I used willpower it made me feel scared and that the results wouldn’t last. I couldn’t trust myself to be around an open bottle of wine. I thought I had a focus on saying no even though my desire was screaming yes. Willpower also made me feel like I couldn’t be as fun or as talkative in social settings unless I had the alcohol. When I tap into my brain power this makes me feel powerful because now I have tools and skills to learn how to tap into that fuel for my life.

And when I tap into my brain power I know I could be fun without alcohol. I could see the logic of it all. I could see how I’m really not that fun to be around when I’m smashed, nor is it sexy or winning over any relationships in my life. I noticed when I used willpower I didn’t get lasting results and it kept me playing small. I kept on focusing on one day at a time, one week at a time, crossing off days on the calendar, relying on the clock, relying on hope to get through the day. Now, I’m not saying this is bad, I’m just saying it’s not the complete picture.

And if you only relied on willpower and this is your cycle, just notice how many times you’re thinking about alcohol and how it’s still consuming your brain. And how your brain is still pointing to it as the problem. When I learned about how to tap into my brain power it felt so different, do you know why? Because I knew I was in it to win. I knew I had to learn things to be successful. I knew it was a change and I was in it for the long haul. It wasn’t about it being a sprint, it was about a marathon called my life.

And when I looked at improving my life and I’m not mucking around I learned the skills I needed and I understood why I drank. Because alcohol is never the problem, it’s the solution to whatever’s troubling us. So if I was using alcohol to numb my pain I needed to look at where the root of the pain was, what exactly was causing that pain. I did this in my life and now I help women do this in theirs.

A few of the women I’m helping right now, we’re rooting out the pain in their marriage. One woman desires to be loved and appreciated by her husband and she’s being empowered with skills to do that. One woman I’m working with wants to be treated as an equal in her marriage and this is the root of her drinking. She doesn’t feel like an equal. And now she’s learning skills on how to become an equal in her marriage.

This is tapping into the power of the brain, using our brain power to solve problems because our brains are so powerful. They come up with such amazing solutions to actually get the life you want. Willpower is about using force. Brain power is about fueling your life. Just imagine a goal you have right now, desire it, desire it big, ignite the flame you have for that goal. Is it to drink less? Is it to lose weight? Is it to not drink at all? Let that fuel carry you.

And in my Drink Less Lifestyle program, I have two whole modules in my online course where I talk about how to do this, how to stay in your power. You’ll watch the videos, you’ll do the worksheets that teach you the skills and then you can get coached on all of it. This is not about avoiding alcohol and using willpower to do it. It’s fueling yourself with the knowledge and the skills so you can become unstoppable. And that’s what you become when you learn to stay in your power.

And that’s why so many women choose to stay in the program, they notice these results, they’re getting results in so many areas of their life. It’s not just a drinking program. It’s how to transform your life with skills and tools to do it. So notice how you fuel yourself. Do you need to conjure up strength and focus on what you’re not going to do? How motivating is that? Do you focus on what you can’t have and what you shouldn’t be doing? Are you wagging your finger at yourself all the time saying, “No, I don’t get to do that?”

Or do you use brain power and let your goals motivate you and fuel you? Do you think yes, I’m going to get to my goal? Do you think about who you’re becoming and why you want to be that woman? And are you practicing skills to do that, to increase your brain power? Or are you relying on willpower to get through? Ladies, I can’t tell you what a huge difference this makes, not only in how you feel, but how quickly you’ll make the change and keep that change sustainable.

Because who wants to get results and then fall back, back into old habits, old ways, old patterning and leading to more guilt and shame as if we’re the problem? Willpower doesn’t work my friends, but brain power does. If you’re wanting help to tap into your brain power and to get sustainable lasting change, I invite you to join Drink Less Lifestyle, blow the doors off of your goals this year, ladies.

Make a meaningful difference in your life this year, one you can be proud of. because when you act in your power, ladies, you get to define the relationship you want with alcohol and not the other way around. Alright my friends, great being with you this week and I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.

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