Would you like to have more self-control? We are guided by our discomfort, some of us more than others. When you want to finish of the bag of potato chips, there’s a level of discomfort that slowly grows as you avoid giving in. The same discomfort appears when you know you need to work, but the TV is calling your name.
Self-control is all about dealing with that discomfort and taking the proper action anyway. The more you give in to that discomfort, the more chaotic your life will be. Some things are important to get done, no matter how uncomfortable the idea makes you feel.
Develop your ability to control yourself:
1. Meditate. Some experts on the topic of self-control and willpower believe that mediation is the single most powerful tool to boost your level of self-control. Brain scans show that the areas associated with memory regulation and decision-making grow in those that meditate regularly. A few minutes per day are all that’s necessary.
2. Take frequent breaks. It’s easier to work on a disagreeable task if you give yourself a break every 30 minutes. Take five minutes and recharge your mental batteries.
3. Have a daily routine. Research shows that making decisions saps your self-control. Daily routines remove a lot of your decisions and preserve your willpower. Choose your clothes the night before. Eat the same thing for breakfast each day. Create routines to minimize the number of decisions you must make each day.
4. Have exciting goals. Goals that inspire you will keep you motivated. They also make it easier to avoid distractions. What are your goals? Write them down and ensure that you’re excited by them.
5. Use your powers of self-control wisely. You don’t have an unlimited supply of willpower. It won’t last for long. For that reason, take on your most disagreeable task first. Use your self-discipline in a planned way early in the day.
- By the afternoon, you’re running on fumes, and it’s too late to do anything difficult.
6. Use accountability to your advantage. Announce your intentions to the world or find an accountability partner. Make yourself accountable for your actions.
- You might be willing to let yourself down, but it’s harder to let someone else down. It’s also hard to deal with embarrassing yourself. If you swear to the world you’re going to lose 10 pounds by the end of the month and you don’t, you’ll feel embarrassed.
7. Get rid of distractions. Trying to lose weight? Get all the non-nutritious food out of the house. Trying to write a novel? Turn off your internet router and your cell phone. Make it as easy as possible to stay on task. What do you find distracting?
8. Use a timer. Anyone can focus well for a few minutes. Set a timer for five minutes and see how much you can get done. Increase the time as your ability to focus grows. The use of a timer stimulates your ability to focus. It’s also easier because you know that the time requirement is limited.
Self-control is the ability to take the proper action, in spite your feelings on the matter. Self-control can be learned and cultivated. Those with a lot of self-control enjoy successful lives, assuming they can make smart decisions. On the flipside, if you make great choices but you can’t get yourself to follow through, your life will be a mess.
Use the strategies that resonate with you. With time and effort, you can develop a level of discipline that would make a drill sergeant proud.