What do Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu and American cartoonist Scott Adams have in common? They both believe that the ability to delay gratification is one of the most important skills a person can possess. Anyone who has ever tried to diet, save money, or study for finals knows that self-control is not always easy to maintain. But it is worth trying to improve because strong self-control leads to success in many areas of life. Here are some tips on how to get started.
1. Know yourself.
You must first understand yourself in order to manage your emotions and instincts. Are you a person who jumps to conclusions often? Is it difficult for you to STOP talking once you’ve started? Intense situations, can you remain composed and optimistic? Can you exercise tolerance when dealing with irritants? A seasoned leader has the ability to keep disruptive feelings and urges under control.
Self-awareness must come first. Here are two emotional intelligence tests to assist you in improving your self-awareness in this area: The VIA Assessment Self-control is also measured by the Emotional Competence Inventory and the Emotional Quotient Inventory. The free online VIA Inventory of Strengths assesses your self-control abilities; it’s a psychological analysis of 24 character strengths, one of which is self-control.
2. Remove temptation
According to a study, most people’s approach to resisting temptation is to remove the opportunity. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, “repeated training of self-control does not result in widespread improvements in self-control.”
That’s why we’re not built for self-control. If people are not built with self-discipline, how can disciplined individuals exist? They avoid temptation by removing it. Instead of battling against desire, remove it instead.
Set yourself up for success by keeping yourself and your surroundings under control, avoiding enticements. It’s useful to allow decisions to become reflexive and self-reinforcing, allowing you to focus your attention on higher priorities.
3. Self-Control as a Pattern of Behavior
While the actual freedom of today and tomorrow is unquestionable, the fact remains that decisions made today have an impact on future choices. Self-discipline, according to psychologist Howard Rachlin, is the ability to restrain oneself from doing something in order to follow a particular pattern of behavior.
When you quit smoking, you are making a decision to start a new habit. It’s a failure to grasp the connection between tonight’s action and the pattern of similar acts performed over many nights and days. It’s even easier to quit if you don’t smoke when you’re not supposed to because it makes it less likely that you’ll smoke the following day and the next.
4. The “Why” and “How” Mindsets
“Why” questions encourage individuals to think long-term or desire to take action. In contrast, “How” inquiries bring the mind to the present and evaluate how well the goal can be accomplished or achieved.
From afar, the forest is visible, but up close, individual trees are apparent. As a result, distance limits our capacity to grasp particular aspects of the choice. The phrase “the devil is in the details” comes to mind. When we choose a diet, we do so because of its potential benefits to us.
However, there are various lesser details connected with this activity, such as going to the gym, avoiding our favorite food, and so on. The why questions can help individuals to maintain a new habit, such as daily exercise or diet. “He who has a reason for a living may endure almost any form of adversity,” according to Nietzsche.
5. Automated Goals
It’s also important to consider why you’re pursuing a goal and what will happen if you achieve it. Making if-then plans that connect a particular triggering event with a defined behavior may help your objectives take flight.
For example, “I won’t go to a restaurant unless I’m planning on ordering something vegetarian,” or “When people mistreat me, I’ll take a deep breath and count to 10.”
Repetition of the situation-specific cues and intended reaction over time enhances the connection between them. If-then strategies can be used to outsource behavioral control to the environment in order to avoid willpower drain. The subject has now been put on automatic pilot—the intended response will be immediately activated by the given signal. When people are tense or preoccupied, they may revert to their old ways.
Conclusion paragraph: Self-control is a vital skill for maintaining good health and achieving your goals. Research has shown that the ability to regulate oneself, altering responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors or increase desirable ones can be important for mental and physical well-being. It’s never too late to start practicing self-control!