When you learn how to improve self-control, the goals you set for yourself will be so much easier. Self-control is the ability to regulate your emotions, thoughts, and behavior when faced with temptations and impulses.
Control is how you regulate yourself or how you wish to regulate yourself. Self-control can also be described as having the discipline, grit, determination, or willpower to do something.
There are several control types: cognitive control, perceived control, motivational control, emotional control, inhibitory control, ego control, and social control. All these types are diverse in their meaning and application in life.
Self-control is an excellent life value and is essential for good health and well-being. Having goals in life requires self-control or self-discipline to come to life. Some psychologists believe that self-control is genetic, but others believe that self-control is a self-taught virtue.
It would help if you started practicing self-control in your day-to-day life. Examples of instances where self-control is applied include restricting yourself from living a lavish lifestyle even though you can afford it. Self-control also applies when someone provokes you, and you remain calm about it and avoid any altercation.
Self-control allows you to cool down your hot system that is emotional, irrational, impulsive and quick to act on your desires.
Self-control brings out the rational, thoughtful system that enables you to consider the long-term consequences of your actions. Self-control enables you to look for ways to deal with your desires without being irrational about them.
To improve on your self-control, we have outlined 8 strategies to follow.
8 Ways On How To Improve Your Self-control:
To make the most of your available self-control, you need to avoid temptations that will trigger you. Avoid things and activities that put you at risk of losing your self-control. Find healthy distractions such as going for a walk.
For example, if you desire to drink, eat junk, or engage in undesired behavior, find a distraction such as taking a walk, calling a friend, doing laundry, or reading a book. Do whatever it takes t get your mind off the temptation at the moment.
If certain friends or family influence your undesired behavior, consider cutting them off for your good. Limit your interaction with them to minimize the chances of you losing your self-control. Avoid visiting places that make you lose your self-control and instead focus on going to places that build you.
Always Plan Ahead:
Always create a room for possibilities in life. Things do not always work the way we planned, and temptations are everywhere. Keep in mind the possible situations that may break your resolve and temptations that might come your way.
What will you do if such happens? Are you going to lose your discipline and willpower to complete your tasks? Planning can improve your willpower even in situations where you experience ego depletion.
Having a backup plan will always have your back and help you avoid unnecessary drama and indecent behaviors.
For example, when you are going out for lunch with friends, and you know very well you are struggling to reduce your sugar intake, consider eating a well-balanced breakfast with plenty of whole grains, proteins, and fiber to keep you full for long. When you go for that lunch date, you can take only salad, and you will have conquered the desire to feed on junk food.
If you also tend to spend lavishly, you can consider locking your accounts or leaving your credit card home when going out. This helps a lot in learning to control yourself against spending on useless and unwanted things.
Practice Applying Self-Control:
Self-control is a virtue that needs to be practiced over and over until you get used to it. Engaging in activities or behaviors that require you to exert self-control regularly improves your determination and grit over time. You might lose it at first, but you will learn to have power over your behavior and thought with continuous exercise.
Think of self-control as a workout exercise. You may feel worn out when you begin exercising, but with time your muscles gain stamina and resistance, and you last longer, and the outcome is visible. Trigger yourself a little bit to test your limits and work on them. Challenge yourself to things that you think affect your self-control and apply your control and discipline.
For example, assuming you are a spendthrift and want to purchase only a particular shoe, go to a shopping mall with your credit card and buy only the shoe you had budgeted.
Only focus on your primary need. Carrying your credit card to the mall where there are many temptations and buying only your shoe improves self-control. Keep practicing self-control, and in the long run, you will be able to do your things rationally comfortably.
Focus On A Goal at a Time:
Putting your energy on different things at the same time will leave you depleted and feeling defeated. Setting many goals at once is an ineffective approach towards success, and you will end up depleting your grit in one area and reducing your self-control in other areas.
Always choose one goal at a time and work on it wholeheartedly. Exercise all your self-control on this goal, and once you have succeeded, you can shift all your willpower to the next goal. When you turn your behaviors towards achieving a goal into habits, you will devote less effort to maintaining the habits.
Using this strategy, you realize that you accomplish more in a shorter time and improve your self-control. You can use the resources achieved with the first goal to achieve the other goals.
For example, if you want to open a chain of businesses, do not start all of them simultaneously as they will drain your resources and willpower.
Start one at a time and focus on growing it with all that you have. In the process, you will learn a critical lesson on business management, and upon its success, you can move forward and open the next business.
Meditation is a great way to strengthen and improve your self-control. Meditation teaches you to slow down racing thoughts and negative energy and generally calms your mind and body. Meditation involves taking deep breathes and being aware of our body and mind.
Sit somewhere comfortably, set your timer, focus on breathing, and take time to notice your thoughts. Do not ignore or suppress your thought but instead remain calm and use breathing as your anchor until the thoughts pass. Give yourself a break anytime you get carried away in your thoughts by fear, anxiety, worry, or hope.
Through meditation, you become more aware of yourself, and it helps you resist temptations. Meditation also helps to control any gut impulses getting in the way of your self-control y slowing down your thoughts.
Beware of the Consequences:
Lack of self-control has adverse effects on your relationships, career, education, self-esteem, finances, and health.
You do not want to lose your career, relationships, or finances because of self-control. For example, your indiscipline in your workplace may lead to you being laid off from work or losing your practice license.
Reminding yourself of what is at stake or what you have to protect will help you improve your self-control. Being mindful of the consequences of indiscipline will help you stay motivated to work on your self-control.
Failure is part of life. Everyone at one time or another has failed in life. You don’t have to beat yourself up because of failing at something. Take your failure as a lesson, forgive yourself and move on. You waste too much energy worrying about things that have already happened.
Focus on the future and let go of the past. Keep in mind that your mistakes do not define who you are. Define yourself by referring to the good things and your success. When you fail on one goal, embark on the next goal with the same enthusiasm and use the experiences from the past to do the right thing.
You have to learn how to grind happily to build your self-control and to achieve your ambitions. Do not carry your previous burdens to the current endeavors. Forgiving yourself helps you to improve on your self-control and maintain your willpower.
Monitor Your Progress:
Measuring your progress keeps you focused on your goals and helps you to concentrate on goal-relevant activities. Self-monitoring makes you an expert on your behavior, making the habits less challenging to change.
Closing monitoring yourself and measuring your progress will help you recognize the areas you are improving on and the areas you need to work on. Celebrate your little wins since nobody will understand your struggles with self-control.
For example, if you are dieting, closely monitor your calories intake and constantly check your weight progress.
By measuring your weight, you will learn of your progress and maintain the dieting if the results are positive or improve if they are negative. The small wins will motivate you to improve on your self-control
Having self-control helps you to regulate your behavior to achieve both your short and long-term goals. Improving your self-control is a gradual process and requires patience. Be patient with yourself and walk every step at a time.
It is very okay to seek professional support if you have issues with your self-control, and they will guide you on your journey to improving your self-control.