How to improve self-control is a tough question to answer.
Do you often struggle to do those things that are healthy and good for your overall well being?
Are you always failing in your effort to stop doing certain bad habits?
If yes, you should understand that you are struggling with self-control and lack of discipline. Therefore, you need to know how to improve self-control and be more disciplined.
By definition, self-control refers to the ability to manage and change our responses to prevent certain unwanted and unpleasant actions, enhance the desirable behaviors and attain some particular goals.
Apart from making you happier and more fulfilled, mastering self-control and being more disciplined are capable of helping you stay healthy.
It is worthwhile to note that self-control can be used to deal with tons of bad habits.
Whatever habit you want to do away with, the most essential thing is to be able to control yourself and not fall into the temptation of doing those undesirable things.
How to improve self-control?
1. Define your weaknesses
While everyone can hide under the illusion that we are strong and capable of dealing with everything, the truth is that we all have our weaknesses.
Therefore, when it comes to mastering self-control and being more disciplined, the first thing you should do is to identify your weaknesses.
Stop living in denial.
Some of the common weaknesses include procrastination, unhealthy eating habits, lack of regular exercise, unhealthy weight gain, lavish spending habits, social media obsessions and lots more.
It doesn’t matter what your weaknesses are, you need to understand that they don’t define you.
So, list out your weaknesses. Afterward, highlight how they have been stampeding your life and wellbeing.
This crucial step can turn your life around and set you up to deal with your problems.
2. Reduce or get rid of all temptations
Sometimes, we can deal with our weaknesses and control ourselves if we don’t have our temptations within our sight.
For instance, if you are fond of the habit of eating junks, you can assist yourself by not buying them. If you want to deal with your obsessions with social media, you can delete the apps on your phone for some period so that you can master how to live your life without being dependent on social media.
Assuming you have the bad habit of spending lavishly when shopping, you need to reduce how often you shop online or offline.
You must remember that when you don’t have a lot of distractions, mastering the art of self-control and being more disciplined becomes easier than ever before.
Notably, there are instances where the temptations may not be removable. However, you can help yourself by casting your mind away from them.
Over time, the temptations will become less appealing to you. When you get rid of the temptations, their influences on you will reduce and you will be more focused on achieving your goals.
3. Create goals with small tasks that can help you achieve them
Another important way to get a perfect understanding of how to improve self-control and be more disciplined is to create goals.
As you are getting rid of your temptations, you need to replace them with better and healthier alternatives. And this is where creating goals comes into the pictures.
Creating goals doesn’t only take your sight away from the temptations but it also enables you to have a distinctive and unbiased vision of the things you need to achieve.
Assuming that you want to lose weight, you need to create realizable goals that include exercise, eating healthy meals and lots more.
Creating goals that correspond to the temptations you want to avoid will make it easier for you to transform your life.
What’s more, you need to have an executable plan of how you want to achieve the goals.
Furthermore, the plan should involve breaking down your goals into small steps that you can take with ease. This plan should highlight every step you have to take to achieve the things you want.
Build a lifestyle around your plan and you will be surprised at how this will help you master self-control.
4. Stay healthy
Whether your self-control goals relate to healthy living or not, it is essential for you to stay healthy.
Generally, if you are healthy, you will be able to concentrate more on the things that truly matter to your life as your brain will be functioning at its optimal level.
Let’s assume that you are hungry, it is just a matter of time before you will become annoyed, angry, and irritated by everything going on around you. With time, your willpower and self-control will suffer significantly and you will seek solace from those temptations that you have been trying to avoid.
With regard to self-control and discipline, staying healthy involves loads of activities. Eating healthy meals is one of them and it is known to supply the blood sugar that you need to stay in control of your perception and resolution. Others include sleeping for the recommended hours and doing exercises.
Besides, meditation can also play a great role in ensuring that you stay healthy. Without a doubt, when you meditate, you are in control of your body and thoughts. This can be instrumental in helping you master the art of self-control so that you can be more disciplined.
5. Learn the art of delayed gratification
Take a look at the challenges you have with self-control and discipline and you will realize that most of them are related to your inability to delay gratification.
Delayed gratification is defined as the ability to repel the desire or impulse to do an immediately rewarding activity with the intent of gaining something more valuable later.
For instance, if you want to get yourself in good shape through going to the gym, you may be tempted to lie on your bed and get immersed on social media instead of hitting the gym. However, with the help of this method, you will be able to overlook the immediate benefit of using social media but rather hit the gym to achieve the goal of an awesome body and become healthier.
Rather than focusing on the short-term benefits of doing certain things, delaying gratification will assist you to see the things you are going to gain from controlling yourself and doing the most beneficial things.
Of course, learning the art of delayed gratification takes some time, but you must know that you need it to master self-control and become more disciplined.
6. Keep track of your progress
As your journey to master how to improve self-control and be more disciplined continues, it is imperative for you to keep track of the progress you have made.
By monitoring yourself, you tend to become an expert who understands your behavior more than ever before.
This makes you see the things you have been doing great and where you need improvements. Also, self-monitoring can be an easy way to be accountable for the actions you have been taking.
You should note that keeping track of your progress can also serve as a source of motivation that you need to keep your sight on the goals. And if you are not doing well, self-monitoring can make it easier for you to note the areas where you have been falling behind so that you can make necessary changes.
Also, have a calendar that lets you know how long you have been keeping away from your temptations and doing the important things you need.
7. Be accountable to others
While the importance of self-monitoring can never be undermined, you should acknowledge that you cannot do it all alone.
In many cases, having someone to watch over your shoulder can spur you to stick to the plans you have for gaining self-control to become more disciplined.
The truth is that it is easier to just forget about your goal to master self-control if you have no one to ask you about it.
The person can also help you when things become tougher than you have imagined. So, don’t shy away from asking for help.
Primarily, there are tons of options you can consider when looking for a support system. Your close friends and family members can come in handy at this juncture.
Tell them about your goals, the temptations you have to deal with, and the plans you have. It is important to ensure that the chosen individuals are honest and disciplined.
For instance, if you want to gain control over your unhealthy smoking habit that is already affecting you, there may be moments when you are tempted to smoke at a bar.
Your friends can also remind you of the need to avoid it.
One advantage of doing this tip is also letting your friends know how to improve self control.
8. Force yourself to do it until it becomes a habit
Generally, mastering how to improve self-control and becoming more disciplined about anything requires a lot of effort. And the only time it will become easy for you to control your actions about a particular goal you have set for yourself is when it has become a habit.
However, while you are still trying to turn it to a habit, you need to force yourself to continue doing it.
Assuming you want to control your habitual and reckless waste of time on social media and focus more on work. There will be a lot of days that you will have the desire to avoid work but rather while away time on these social media platforms.
Nevertheless, you can force yourself to focus on work during this period. Although it will be difficult to maintain concentration at the beginning, you will get better with time. After some periods, focusing on work will become a habit and you won’t have to force yourself to do it because it will be something that you desire and enjoy.
9. Use implementation intention to create backup plan
According to psychologists, “implementation intention” is a powerful tool that can help you to master how to improve self-control and become more disciplined.
How does this tool work?
Basically, implementation intention is about offering yourself a backup plan that helps you handle a potentially difficult condition that you can hardly avoid.
Let’s say you are mastering self-control over alcoholism that is affecting your health, but you have to attend a bachelor party where drinking is certain.
Instead of allowing yourself to fall for the temptation of drinking, you can have a backup plan of what you will do when you are at the party. Perhaps you will only take a glass of water and spend the evening talking to people so that you don’t feel the urge to drink.
The essence of having a backup plan is that it will offer you the tool required for self-control and discipline in this tempting situation.
Also, you will be well prepared ahead of time to deal with the situation. This allows you to gain better control over your emotions as the party goes on.
10. Forgive yourself whenever you fail
Lastly, you should understand that as you are mastering how to improve self-control to become more disciplined, you will encounter failures.
You should know that frustration, guilt, and anger are normally expected after a failure.
But your reaction to failure is the major determinant of what you will be able to achieve afterward.
If you allow the failures to get the better of you, you will slump back into the habit you have been trying to avoid. However, if you fail but forgive yourself quickly, you will be able to get back on your feet and move forward.
Don’t hate yourself for failing. Learn from your mistakes and continue to journey to master self-control and be more disciplined.
Finally, no worthy and meaningful change happens overnight.
So, your quest to master how to improve self-control and be more disciplined in any facet of life cannot come easily. You have to encounter some ups and downs.
But the most important thing is that you should cultivate the habit of being patient.
Also, be always ready to put in the required effort to get to the level of self-control you want.
Check out these amazing articles to learn more about self-control:
- Pyschology Today: Self Control
- Science Daily: Effective self-control strategies involve much more than willpower
- Lifehack: How to Have Self-Control and Be the Master of Your Life
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