Summoning Your Self-Control

by | Feb 7, 2023 | Personal Development, Professional Development

In the process of chasing your dreams, goals, and ambitions, one of your biggest and most useful tools is self-control. Without self-control, you’ll make hasty decisions and give in to temptations, leaving no time for focus and achievement. Although most of us have self-control, it’s rarely as strong as it can be. Some of us can resist sweets … until the right ice cream shop is having a sale. Then the sweets are hard to turn down because discount ice cream means you’re technically saving money, right? Being able to avoid sweets or other temptations, distractions, and time/money wasters is crucial to meeting your goals. So, without further ado, let’s discuss a few tried-and-true self-control methods that’ll work for you!

Start with a Smile

A golden retriever with a harness on, stands in a field of grass, smiling.

To become a master of self-control, you must adopt a positive mindset. When you let negative thoughts take over, it’s hard to believe in anything good happening to you. In fact, with a sour outlook on life, it’s hard to even believe in yourself. When all you’re able to think is, “I can’t do that,” or “that’ll never happen for me,” it’s hard to muster up the energy to make things happen for you. Instead, replace your smirk with a smile, even if it isn’t effortless. Rather than crossing your arms and using closed off body language, relax them at your sides and lean into your interactions. 

Each day, remember your failures but highlight your successes. Keep a running record of the things you do right, and your positive attitude will quickly develop. Then, you’ll take control of your own thoughts, which is the first step in controlling your actions.

Trick Your Temptation

A hand points a remote at a television which has a plant in a terracotta pot on either side of it.

Self-control isn’t always about being able to deny the giant soda when it’s right in front of you at the movie theater. Sometimes it’s about outsmarting yourself and removing the temptation altogether and not getting in the movie snack line to begin with. Or if you’re someone who craves a bite late at night, make sure that your pantry or fridge is stocked with healthy fruits, veggies, nuts, etc.

Do you lack self-control when it comes to the remote control? If you can’t help but watch another episode of your favorite show, try logging out of your streaming service app every time you’re finished with it. Although it doesn’t take much to sign back in, it’ll be enough of a deterrent to keep you from logging on when you really should be going to bed or reading a book. Can’t keep items out of your online cart? Never save your credit card information on your favorite shopping app. This way, when it’s time to pay, you’ll look closely at every item and strongly consider your purchases before entering your payment method. Especially in the early stages of building up your self-control, it’s easiest to think ahead and outsmart yourself in moments of temptation.

Round Up Reinforcements

In a black and white image, someone is holding their hand out in front of their face, palm toward the viewer.

In moments of weakness, it’s okay to look for help. If one of your goals is to cut back on caffeine, ask your friends to keep track of your intake. When they report back at the end of the work week that you’ve had 20 cups of coffee, ask them to stop you the next time they see you walking mindlessly toward the espresso machine.

In a situation where you’re the only person that can hold yourself accountable for the distraction in action, practice self-control. Turn off your phone if you know it’ll be an issue. Put in ear plugs when working in a busy café, so your attention doesn’t get pulled away.

Force Your Self-Control

A clean, white, and well-lit gym is full of black and red exercise equipment.

Until your efforts become routines and habits, you may have to force your hand occasionally. When you catch yourself about to skip the gym, go there anyway and walk through the door. Once you start exercising, keep telling yourself, “Just five more minutes.” When you’ve finished your workout, you’ll be happy that you did.

If you’re supposed to be meeting with a new client, but you’re low on energy, don’t cancel. Instead, remember that your livelihood relies on serving others. Consider showing up to the meeting early before you have the chance to come up with an excuse not to go.

Whenever you’re dreading doing something, do it anyway. If you’re too tired to complete a task, do it anyway. As you force yourself to follow through with productive or healthy actions, repetition will eventually make them come naturally and form a habit.

Commit to Self-Control

If you want to take control of your life and start achieving your dreams and meeting your goals, start with self-control. Commit to practicing and exercising self-discipline every day, and it’ll become second nature. You won’t struggle to resist temptation, and you won’t be easily distracted. If you’re looking for more ways to strengthen your resolve, consider these additional tips. 

Another awesome way to boost your self-control is to adopt an ownership mentality. Check out our blog, “Own It,” to learn more.