People often use a variety of terms for self-control, including discipline, determination, grit, willpower, and fortitude.
Psychologists typically define self-control as:
• The ability to control behaviors in order to avoid temptations and to achieve goals
• The ability to delay gratification and resist unwanted behaviours or urges
• A limited resource that can be depleted
Interestingly, self-control is not will-power, nor is it best generated from the “self”, as the “self” life is the ego. No… it’s a “fruit” or result of living under God’s design and grace. Then you gain the “power”to control the self-ish nature of the self-life. Here are some pointers:
1. Remove temptation
We are not wired to consistently resist temptation, a study found that the way most people resist temptation is to remove the temptation. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, “training self-control through repeated practice does not result in generalized improvements in self-control.” Why? Because as mentioned, the self life of ego cannot sustain itself by itself.
So if people are not wired to have self-control, how do disciplined people exist? They remove temptation, creating effortless self-control. Instead of struggling to resist temptation, remove the temptation. Set yourself up for success by managing yourself and your surroundings by removing temptations. It helps to make decisions automatic and self-reinforcing, so you can focus on priorities and decisions that matter more. When you no longer desire the wrong things by choice, they are no longer temptations to act out, and God’s grace and power are at your disposal.
2. Measure Your Progress
What gets measured gets managed. Monitoring your progress keeps you focused on your goals. Monitoring helps us become experts on our own behavior, and it makes habits less difficult to govern and change. Forward journaling is a great tool to utilize in this area.
The more you want the goal, the more likely you are willing to make the efforts and sacrifices required to achieve it. The strength of people’s commitment and resolve to something depends on its value to them and the chance that the value will, in fact, become a virtue when consistently acted upon positively.
This means that there will be no motivation to the goal pursuit if the value of the goal is zero, no matter how high is the likelihood of success. Similarly, there will be no motivation if the expected chance is quite low.
4. Learn How To Deal With Stress Effectively
Stopping and taking a few deep breaths helps your heart rate slow down, that helps you relax in the moment. Make sure to exercise regularly, eat well and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It all improves focus, cognitive function and your health.
5. Prioritize Things
Make a to do list for every day, week and month, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you know you’re making progress and doing the very best you can. It makes you feel more in control, because feeling overwhelmed and like things are out of your control only leads to disorganization, stress and wasted time. Realize what you can and cannot do in a 24 hour period, week, month, and realize that “striving” to do more that the realistic parameters set will cause stress.
6. Forgive Yourself
You are going to fail, failing is a part of life. Forgive yourself and move on. Beating yourself up and worrying achieves nothing, it is wasted energy.
Eighty percent of achieving a goal is your attitude, and good attitude is a happy worker, and you’re going to need to learn how to happily grind if you want to build self-control and achieve ambitious goals. This, and re-defining failure as not defeat. All failures are opportunities to grow, mature and learn some more!
BH/Make Me Better