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.” . 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 . 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.
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.
Signs self-control is getting low:
- 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.
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 .
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 . It will also improve your confidence that you can control yourself in stressful situations.
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 .
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 .
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.
|||^||Psychology Today: All About Self-Control|
|||^||Fast Company: Why Change Is So Hard: Self-Control Is Exhaustible|
|||^||My Self Development: Importance of Self Control|
|||^||LifeHacker: How Self-Control Works, and How to Boost Your Willpower by Better Understanding It|
|||^||Buffer: The Science of Self-Control: 6 Ways to Improve Your Willpower Today|
|||^||Quick and Dirty Tips: 8 Tips to Improve Your Self-Control|