Do you understand the importance of self-control? It is the ability to control impulses and reactions. Self-control is another name for self-discipline and is a very important tool in your success armory. Let’s take a look at what it is and learn a bit about how to build self-control.
This is a skill that allows you to tell yourself “enough.” It aids you in abandoning harmful extremes of behavior and action. For example, it can help you avoid eating unhealthy food. With self-control, you will be able to stop doing anything that might be harmful to you and to others.
If you have a need to overcome obsessions, fears, addictions, or any other unsuitable behavior, self-control will put you in control of your life, your behavior, and your reactions.
As it can help improve your relationships and lead to the development of patience and tolerance, it is an important tool to help you find success and happiness.
What Are Some Ways That Self-Control Can Help You?
- Builds our decision-making capacity
If we exercise self-control before making a decision, we find it easier to follow through and conquer those tough temptations. We can manifest the physical and emotional detachment needed to follow through on a decision that may challenge us.
- Chances of success are increased
Even if there are others more talented, researchers have shown that those who had self-control and determination could outperform those with more talent. Self-control strengthens self-esteem, confidence, willpower, and mastery over self. Therefore, you will be more able to take charge of your life and to progress toward your goals.
Research has shown that self-control can actually outdo intelligence when it comes to academic performance. The reason is that young people with high self-control spend more time on homework, have better school attendance records, and focus in class more. The result: They have higher grades.
- You can learn to curtail impulsive behaviors
Do you have a problem with binge eating? Perhaps you are a binge drinker. Regain mastery over your life and keep in check self-destructive activity and obsessive and compulsive behaviors. You will regain a sense of mastery over your life, and it will be more in balance.
- Self-Control improves focus
You can better tune out distractions and perform to the best of your ability. You also will be more able to drive negative thoughts away. These could be blocking your long-term success.
In a study by Bertrams et al, the participants had to solve math problems while under pressure. Those who had low self-control were distracted by negative thoughts. The disciplined participants did much better.
Because we can tune out distractions with self-control, we can then focus our energies on the task at hand.
- People with self-control are more likely to gain wealth
A study in New Zealand followed 1,000 children for 30 years. From this study, it was determined that the children who had high levels of self-control landed high income jobs and had much lower levels of addiction.
- People with self-control avoid being exposed to conflicting desires
This one is a problem I face: Should I eat that last piece of chocolate cake when I am trying to lose weight?
If you are practicing self-control, you wouldn’t even have the cake in the house to tempt you.
Obstacles To Self-Control
- Not knowing or understanding what self-control really is
- Emotional responses are strong and uncontrolled
- Reacting to some outside stimulus, instead of thinking about it first
- Lacking discipline and will power
- Does not wish to change or improve
- Believing self-control is a limiting and unpleasant activity
- Believing with self-control we eliminate fun
- Insufficient faith in oneself and ones abilities
How To Build And Develop Self-Control
1) What areas need improvement?
First, determine the areas of your life where you need to gain more self-control. These might be many things. Some examples: Overeating or eating too much junk food, having a shopping addiction, drinking too much alcohol, spending all your time working, being addicted to gambling, smoking, or being quick to anger.
2) Control your emotions
We need to learn to keep our emotions under control at all times. Decisions need to be based on reason, not fear. Fear is an emotion and therefore can’t be reasonable.
3) Maintain self-control in our interactions with others
We all need to maintain self-control in our interactions with others. If we allow another’s actions to make us angry, we have then given that person control over our own emotions, instead of maintaining control of them ourselves.
If someone talks to you in a manner you don’t like, concentrate on the information they are giving and why they are saying it, instead of how they are saying it. In this way, you absorb the information given without having your own emotions affected by the other person.
4) Identify the emotions that lack control
To get a grip on your emotions, try identifying the ones that lack control. These might be anger, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, resentment or fear.
5) Identify thoughts and feelings that cause uncontrolled behavior
Once you have identified the emotions, then identify the thoughts and beliefs that push you to behave in an uncontrolled way. Next, spend a few minutes each day thinking about these issues and what the consequences are in your life. Consider how your life would change without them
Use affirmations several times a day, especially when you are in need of self-control. Here is a list of affirmations you might use. (These come from an article in successconsciousness.com. See reference links at the end of this page.)
- I am fully in control of myself.
- I have the power to choose my emotions and thoughts.
- Self-control brings me inner strength and leads me to success.
- I am in control of my reactions.
- I am in charge of my behavior.
- I am gaining control of my emotions.
- I am the master of my life.
- Day by day my ability to control my feelings and thoughts is increasing.
- Self-control is fun and pleasurable.
Now, visualize yourself as acting with self-control and self-restraint. Think of an example of an area where you lack self-control, and see yourself acting calmly and with self-control, and see yourself acting with self-mastery.
7) Increase will-power and self-discipline
Work at developing and increasing your will power and self-discipline. To do so, you must have emotional awareness. Don’t completely disregard your emotional responses. Identify them and understand why you feel the way you do. Emotional awareness is key in developing self-control.
By learning to regulate your emotions, you will increase your feeling of well-being and help avoid depression.
Never let anyone steal your smile.
Learning self-control is one of the most important skills you can develop. The positive effects of learning this control spills over into many parts of our lives. It will allow you to make better decisions and enjoy a far better reality.
Learning this important skill does not mean you need to deny yourself pleasures. It is about working toward a higher ideal. If you sacrifice some things now you will be better equipped to meet your long-term goals. Build your will power, so you can make the changes needed to bring about what you most desire in your life.
The references I used for this post are as follows: