Practicing Self-ControlNo one likes to be controlled by other people. Having control over yourself, however, is both freeing and empowering. The book of Galatians in the Bible lists self-control as one of the fruits of the spirit; that is, it's one of the traits that show others one is a follower of Christ. In fact, most faiths incorporate some measure of discipline as a way of practicing true belief.

It's one thing to value this virtue but quite another to actually put it into action. Here are some tips to help you practice better self-control. 

Define What Self-Control Means

Most people have their own ideas of what it means to have good self-control, but those definitions can vary widely from person to person. Self-control is a broad term that can encompass many different skills:

  • Willpower to make healthier choices
  • Persistence to work steadily toward goals
  • Emotion management to foster good communication
  • Discipline to achieve a reasonable balance of work and rest

You may choose to tackle all the different aspects of self-control or just focus on the one with which you struggle the most. Regardless of what you decide, it's important to have a clear definition of what you want to accomplish in mind from the start.

Learn the Value of Delayed Gratification

Not many people actively choose to be out of control. It's simply easier for the desires of the moment to take over. It's more gratifying to grab fast food than take the time necessary to carefully plan and cook your meals. Saying what you really think in a conflict situation seems like it will feel better than refraining or trying to understand. The consequences of impulsive behaviors, however, don't help you in the long run.

Once you learn how wonderful the rewards of good choices can be, it becomes less difficult to make them. Delaying gratification allows you to stick to your self-control goals with the promise of a larger payout in the future. The thrill of that first achievement and the benefits you reap from it can fuel your resolve to keep having such experiences.

Look To Others for Guidance

It's easy to recognize a lack of self-control in other people. They may blow up in anger or give in to vices without any apparent thought to the consequences. While focusing on other people's faults isn't the most charitable way to use your time, in moderation it can be profitable if it inspires you to examine areas of your own life where more self-control is needed. For example, seeing another parent yell at a child in frustration may remind you of how many times you've lost your patience with your own children. The next time a tense situation arises, you can use the memory of how uncomfortable you felt seeing such an interaction to adjust your own response.

You can also enlist professional help. If you can't seem to keep your diet on a healthy track, a nutritionist can help you make a solid plan and teach you specific skills for avoiding poor choices. A life coach can assist you with setting reasonable goals and making a plan to achieve them. When you feel overwhelmed or anxious and are concerned that you won't be able to control your responses to negativity or stressful stimuli, a therapist can help you find a way to engage more thoughtfully in these moments. Just because it's called self-control, that doesn't mean you can't reach out for help when you need it.

Once you define how you want to improve your self-control, the next step is finding the tools to help you be successful. Soon you will discover how learning to keep yourself in check opens up a whole new world of freedom.

Category: Health and Wellness

Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.

Log in Using: