Yes, the "W" word. That mythical pink fluffy unicorn called Willpower has been held out as the key to success in nearly every realm of life, from weight loss, to business success, to climbing Mount Everest. I've also heard, time and time again, "I just don't have the willpower to resist eating that..." or something along those lines to explain why someone hasn't been able to succeed in losing weight and/or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
WILLPOWER VS. STRONG MOTIVATION
It seems that, much of the time, people equate willpower with strong motivation. E.G. if your motivation for losing weight is strong enough, you will be able to resist the temptations of poor food choices, etc. because the motivation will give you the will. Maybe they need to get in shape or risk losing their job, or have been told that their life is in imminent danger from health complications unless they lose weight. Keep trekking through the forest or climbing that mountain, or give up and die alone in the wilderness. In these cases, people are absolutely driven by this strong motivation.
From the outside looking in, it seems that these people have enormous willpower because they don't make those bad choices, but when you look just a bit deeper, or even if you ask these people how they "find the willpower" they'll tell you. It isn't willpower, it's that the alternative (not losing weight) or the consequences of that alternative (E.G. unemployment or death) are negative enough in their mind that it is simply not viable, so they have "no choice" but to make the right choice. There is no exertion of their will required to stay on track - their deep motivation is sufficient to sustain them because any other choice is unpalatable.
Having a deep, emotionally-resonant motivation is great (that's why we had you go through the 5 Why's Exercise in our article "Find Your Real, Deep Down Why"), and can definitely help keep you on track through minor, or even some not-so-minor, challenges along the way. For most of us, though, for motivation to be strong enough on its own to sustain a fitness/lifestyle journey through serious challenges, it literally has to be life and death. If the consequences of failure are less than fatal, we can always find a way to accept falling off track. That is completely normal, and is absolutely OK!