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How to Resist Every Temptation and Be a Winner in Life

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How to Resist Every Temptation and Be a Winner in Life

Self-control. Also known as willpower, discipline, or determination, this useful trait is a great lifelong skill to have in your back pocket. Self-control will help you overcome tempting situations in life and will also keep you on track when the going gets rough. Read more about how to gain the self-control needed to overcome almost any situation.

What is self-control?

The true definition of self-control is to control one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations. Psychology Today defines this tool as, “…the ability to subdue our impulses in order to achieve longer-term goals.” [1]. Instead of acting on immediate impulses, self-control can help us to control our emotions and help prevent us from doing anything we’ll regret, like eating that delicious chocolate milkshake when you’ve been trying to eat healthier. Exercising self-control, or willpower, in these types of situations eventually leads to success and big achievement.

Why is self-control so hard?

There are studies that show that self-control is exhausting [2]. Any task or situation that uses your focus or attention actually taxes your patience and self-control. That’s why after a trying day at work, it’s more likely you’ll lose that control when you get home in the form of binge eating or being ornery towards family members.

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Human beings naturally like to revert to old and familiar routines that are comfortable to them. So any kind of change or new routine that uses a lot of your focus is tapping into your self-control tank. It takes a lot of focus to master new routines, or even to overcome our everyday feelings and impulses.

That’s why at the end of the day, especially days that are filled with a large amount of newness or stress, our self-control tank can be low on fuel and we are more likely to feel exhausted and drained. However, there are ways to identify when your self-control is running on empty and how to refill your tank.

How to tell if your self-control runs on low?

So what are some warning signs that your self-control might be running on low? Let’s address a few of these signs and how to refuel and re-energize your mind and willpower.

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Signs self-control is getting low:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Patience
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Intrusive Thoughts

So what steps can you take to regain control?

If your self control is bad, your relationships would be bad too

Not only is self-control important in achieving personal goals and underlies any successful person, it is also extremely important in our social lives. Using self-control is part of our everyday interactions with others. More often than not, we are put in situations that cause stress or friction within us that may be caused by other people, and the power to control your feelings and emotions in these situations will make or break you.

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Giving into impulsive emotions and feelings can have bad consequences, and knowing how to use self-control will save you from some pretty awkward situations, according to My Self Development [3].

Here are 4 simple ways to build self-control:

There are a number of ways to recharge and re-energize so that you are running at optimal levels of control, ensuring that you are effectively dealing with everyday situations to the best of your ability.

1. Practice situations that exercise self-control

Practice makes perfect, and practicing situations that exercise self-control, like refraining from sweets or technology for a day, will improve these skills [4]. It will also improve your confidence that you can control yourself in stressful situations.

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2. Distract yourself from the tempting situation

When a situation pops up that is tempting, finding a good distraction (like taking a walk or phoning a friend) will help avoid the bad behavior. Also, replacing bad habits with rewarding or positive behaviors is a great way to kick those naughty routines that can be very tempting.

3. Put yourself first to be energized

When your self-control is exhausted, and it will be many times in your life, it can be easy to snap and revert to bad behaviors. A great way to prevent this from happening is by taking care of yourself. Eating healthy, getting enough Z’s, and exercising are great starters. These simple methods ensure that you have the best energy level to handle stress and properly cope with it [5].

4. Change your environment to decrease temptations

By decreasing distractions or temptations within your environment, you won’t need to exercise as much self-control, thereby increasing your focus and energy on more important things. Improving your surroundings will help reserve your self-control for when you need it most [6].

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Get started now!

Having good self-control isn’t always easy, and it sometimes takes a lot of work. But by practicing and using some of the tips above, using your self-control will get easier over time, and before you know it, success will follow.

Reference

More by this author

Amanda Lindsey

A registered nurse and a mom who loves to share health resources to help others.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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