From running too late, to compulsively reading addresses, to consuming too many carbs- practising self-control is something which we all battle with regularly. It is a characteristic that distinguishes us all from the animal kingdom owing to our expanded pre-frontal cortex. Rather than responding automatically to urges, we should try to plan and strategize their actions in advance.
Self-control is a skill that cannot be mastered overnight. However, it can help us tackle the major problems of our modern daily lives like going to sleep sooner, switching off the phone, and saying no to the food bowl at the dining table.
Thankfully, there is indeed a ton we could do to reduce the vulnerability of willpower and improve our capacity to practice self-control, such as the following few tips.
1. Take a look at the bigger picture
The research reveals that conceptual, global, or high-level thought facilitates progress in self-control.
For instance, while working on a mission, it is possible to get frustrated with the number of small steps needed to get you there. But when you focus on the rewards and recognition you will get achieve after completing the mission, everything seems worth it.
So, try regularly informing yourself of the end goal and help yourself to foster self-control by avoiding discouragement.
2. Learn how self-control works
Simply put, it is simpler to indulge than to hold back. For obvious reasons, it is better to behave as though you are immune to the calories you are swallowing, instead of looking for a healthy meal choice. Likewise, it is easier to watch TV than it is to spend time on self-improvement. Instant gratification is reasonable, but what about medium to long term effects? The issue lies with being unable to step away from the ‘right now’ emphasis. Taking little steps and making small changes now will help you in the long term.
3. Exercise is a must
Exercise makes you feel safe in every area of your life: mind, body, and spirit. Apart from the visible health benefits, it causes biochemical changes in your brain, like increasing the levels of endorphins and serotonin. Physical activity also has a beneficial effect on brain activity that allows for a calmer mental and emotional state.
If you are capable of thinking calmly and clearly, you are well prepared to stay in charge of stressful situations. But of course, when a conflict comes your way, always choose to walk it off and calm down before you intervene.
4. Try tricking your willpower
There is no simple way out, but you do need to maintain self-control. Keep up with it. For instance, if you do not have any control on spending, keep absolute, strict control on your expenditures for a week. It is going to boost your self-control.
There is a lot of truth in the notion that you can improve your life in 30 days. If you have accomplished a major part on your shoulder by the end of the month, you certainly would not like to go back to your addiction.
5. Know the risks of poor sleep
Research by the University of Washington, published in the Harvard Business Review shows that poor sleep removes glucose from the prefrontal cortex, thus draining the fuel required for self-control. Sound sleep is the only way to restore it. It makes a significant difference at work the very next day between ethical and immoral conduct, like stealing through fake receipts. Many who slept six hours or less were much more likely to indulge in aberrant work activity than others who slept and over six hours. Hence, adequate sleep is necessary for the body and mind.
6. Try to distract yourself
Exercising self-control will make you feel sick. So, ensure you are taking care of your nutrition and lifestyle to keep up your capacity. Everything which triggers irritability is going to make your self-control break. Create a range of items that keep you occupied in your spare time.
The secret to self-control will be your potential to imagine it; if you believe it, you will accomplish it. Mental imagery has been seen by top athletes as a way to improve their confidence and performance. Research has also shown that both imagining and acting can trigger many of the same neuronal networks that connect brain activity to body activity. Also, on a purely psychological level, the possibility of achievement will improve motivation and trust. So, imagine whatever you want, and then pre-commit to doing it, such as to quit smoking.
8. Get yourself digital self-control support
There are now a variety of apps that help you practice self-regulation, and devices to help you show the control when you are online. There are several other ways of helping you outsource your self-control:
1. Stick.com- It is a personalized service that helps maintain you helps you stay dedicated to any goal.
2. GymPact- It makes sure that you will never skip another workout, and keeps you reminding of your schedule.
3. Mint.com- It helps to maintain a track of your spending and helps you avoid it.
9. Make positivity your friend
To become the better versions of yourselves, physically, mentally, and emotionally, proceeding with an optimistic attitude is one the best way. Fixating on the negatives would only perpetuate the attitude of “I cannot”. Alternatively, keep notes of your contributions; and when you mess up, pardon yourself. Reflect on your everyday accomplishments. It will help you strengthen the better and build you up for prospective achievements.
This way, you would have something to redirect your mind to and prevent any unpleasant altercation when you are encountering difficulties, whether it is the boss or perhaps the cereal container.
10. Fear your habit
Think of those with similar concerns, but who have reached too far for simplistic answers. Put together a visual image of an obese human being if you are into unhealthy food. Are you willing to look like that in real life? If no, then let the implications scare the daylights out of you. Modify your path. One can counter desire and temptation with a blend of the correct strategies and ploys.
11. Create difficulties for yourself
For instance, if you are a shopping addict, then cut off your credit or debit card. If you are not using one, then how are you going to go shopping? Whether you are smoking, do not buy cigarettes and keep away from other users. Do not store up if you want to drink just by saying it is the weekend. And cut off your credit card. Develop circumstances where you are unable to reach what you want for immediate gratification, and that is how you will develop self-control.