Self-control is exhibited when you demonstrate control over your emotions, desires, and actions or expressions of those emotions and desires. So, while you may feel like screaming and throwing yourself on the floor when someone cuts in front of you, you don’t. Certain people make you want to punch them in the face, but you don’t. You don’t do these things because you have self-control. There are other times you need to practice self-control that isn’t as obvious such as getting up and going to work each day, by drinking 64 ounces of water to stay hydrated or by not stuffing an entire bag of crisps down your neck while you cook dinner for the family.
Consider these “Small Steps”
1. Set SMART Goals
When you learn how to set goals the right way, it will make following the path to reaching the goals much more straightforward. You’ll end up with an action plan that leads you right to what you need to do. Knowing that your steps will achieve results makes self-control almost unnecessary. You can learn about setting SMART goals here.
2. Focus on Impact
If you’re wavering on doing something, think about the impact of your choice. Usually, if you’ve picked the right things, the impact will be more desirable than the alternative, and you’ll use your self-control to keep going.
3. Remove Temptations
No one has an unlimited amount of self-control. Don’t put temptations in your way. If you love to eat chocolate and want to watch your weight, don’t keep it in the house. Set aside a specific time, you can have it so you can look forward to it.
4. Everything in Moderation is a Lie
One problem with self-control is that it’s easy to tell yourself that you can have a little. However, if you don’t set a strict schedule, you may end up moderating yourself to obesity a little at a time.
5. Develop Healthy Habits
Just like you can develop a bad habit of drinking a diet fizzy drink every day, you can develop a good habit of drinking fresh, filtered tap water every day too. You will grow to prefer that which you do most often.
6. Understand the 80/20 Rule
Perfection is never required because if you do the right thing 80 percent of the time, it will usually help you enjoy most of the results anyway. This is a way to improve your brain to accept the goals you’ve set, allowing for flexibility.
7. Know How You Learn Best
Know who you are by learning more about yourself and how you learn new things best. Don’t rely on other people’s methods for learning; figure out what works for you so that you can enjoy learning.
8. Be Flexible
Perfection is at the heart of failure. If you are worried about being perfect, you’re going to end up without any self-control at all because perfection doesn’t exist. Instead, work flexibility into your schedule so you can switch tact, and not cancel, when needed.
9. Monitor Your Choices
As you make more choices, especially if you make a poor one, journal what the alternative was, and the results of the option. How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? As you fully experience the consequences, self-control becomes easier.
10. Know That You Have the Power
Here’s the thing. In most situations, you are indeed the one with the power. Even if something you don’t like is happening, you are still the one who has power over your actions and reactions.
ENGAGE Top Tip
Self-control is vital to being able to live a full and happy life. After all, you’re not two years old now. You can’t get away with just doing whatever you want, whenever you want to. And more importantly, once you learn self-control, you can use it in all aspects of your life whether at home or work.
Quotes to Ponder
“You need self-control in an out of control world.”
- James C. Collins: American researcher, author, speaker and consultant
“Self-control is the quality that distinguishes the fittest to survive.”
- George Bernard Shaw: Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist
Ask Yourself This
Who is really in control of me and my time? Who should be?
Am I pushed and shoved about by the demands of others?
Do circumstances throw out the day’s agenda?