Boost Your Self-Control With These Simple Strategies

Boost your self-control with these simple strategies

Are you where you want to be in life?

  • Do you have your dream income?
  • Have you started the business you’ve dreamed of starting?
  • Are you living the life you thought you’d be living by the age you are now?

Why not?

Seriously think about it.

Did something happen that wiped out all the progress you had made?

Or did you not make any progress in the first place?

If it’s the latter, again, ask yourself:

Why not?

I’m going to guess that it’s because you didn’t do the hard stuff that would’ve made your dream life possible.

You knew what you had to do, but you didn’t do it.

You sacrificed your future for temporary, short-term gain.

You binged on Netflix instead of researching your competitors. You ate the chocolate bar instead of a healthy snack.

Why?

Because the former action felt better.

But now you’re here.

You’re ready to conquer yourself and do what needs done.

And for that, you need self-control.

Are Willpower & Self-Control The Same?

Self Control

Self-control is the ability to stop yourself from doing the activities you shouldn’t do.

You know that third cup of coffee isn’t good for you, but without self-control, you can’t stop yourself from drinking it.

self control

When you have self-control, you can control your impulses now for a better reward sometime in the future. You don’t engage in activities that could ruin the chances of achieving your goals.

willpower

Willpower

While self-control is about not doing, willpower is the power to do.

With willpower, you push yourself to get work done. You muster the strength to do whatever it is that needs doing whether that’s waking up at four a.m., writing 1,000 words, or running 5 miles every day.

Self-control and willpower have one thing in common:

They can both be trained.

Self-control and willpower are often compared to muscle; just as you can go to the gym and strengthen your muscles, you can strengthen these two qualities by training them.

How much self-control and willpower you have is not encoded in your genes. Self-control and willpower are not qualities that some people just have and others don’t.

The Self-Control Dojo: Boosting Your Self-Control

Without self-control, you’ll be lost to the temptations of the moment. You’ll grab your phone whenever you get a notification and will struggle to focus on your work.

Luckily, increasing your self-control isn’t selective to certain areas of your life. You can’t have self-control for one thing and not for another. Training your self-control at home, for example, will boost your self-control at work, too.

Here are five ways you can train your self-control:

1. Start Small

When building muscle, you have to start with light dumbbells, then gradually progress to heavier ones.

If you lift too much weight too early, you’ll hinder your success. The same goes when training your self-control.

start small to boost your self-control

Trying to exert too much self-control all at once will weaken your self-control instead of strengthening it.

When boosting your self-control, find some small tasks that you should do, but don’t want to.

Here are a few small tasks that require self-control:

  • Don’t hit snooze in the morning
  • Don’t check your phone while working
  • Put back the junk food at the grocery store

These actions aren’t too difficult but still require self-discipline. The more you use your self-control, the more you’ll end up having.

2. Tie the Hard Action to A Rewarding One

One way to boost your self-control is to motivate yourself with rewards for doing things you don’t want to do.

You only get to do what you want to do after you’ve done what you should do.

This trains your self-control by procrastinating the tasks you’re trying to stop doing.

For instance, you could restrain from social media until you’ve worked on productive endeavors for at least 2 hours. Or you could not go out with your friends until you’ve completed your to-do list.

Because you’re only getting the good stuff after the hard work, you’re creating an association in your brain that hard work = feeling good.

Need a tool to help you stay focused?

Cold Turkey’s Typewriter transforms your computer into a typewriter until you’ve written a specific number of words or for a certain amount of time. Their Micromanager allows you to only use the programs you need for work.

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3. Use If..Then Statements

You need to make a battle strategy to fight the urges when they arise, else you’ll fall victim to your yearnings.

Making a plan to overcome your temptations gives your self-control a weapon to fight them with.

use if then statements

The plan you’ll make takes the format of if this happens, then I’ll do this.

Picture this:

You’re sitting at your desk about to craft some sales copy, but as soon as you open your browser, you’re bombarded with notifications from your email.

Your default behavior would be to put your document aside and start tackling those darn emails.

But not this time…

This time, you made a plan. You knew this would happen, so you said if my inbox is full, I set aside 1 hour at the end of the day to go through it.

You move some stuff around on your agenda and schedule those emails in, then you roll up your sleeves and start writing.

Because you planned ahead, you were able to resist wasting time. You didn’t have to give it a second thought, you knew what you had to do in this situation.

4. Adjust Your Environment

It’s no secret that your environment has a huge impact on what you do. The easier you make your work, the more likely you are to do.

Think about it:

Is it easier to stick to your diet when you only have vegetables at home or when you have Cheez-It’s sitting around your house?

By changing your environment, you can make your productive work easy and the bad habits hard.

For example, if you check your phone too often, change your phone password to a very long password that contains numbers and symbols and you’ll check it a lot less. In fact, I bet you’d only open it when you absolutely need to!

In her book How To Be A Bawse, Lily Singh gives an example of how she puts her running shoes in her hallway, inconveniencing her until she goes for her morning run.

What similar things can you do to boost your self-control?

Need a tool to help you stay focused?

Cold Turkey’s Typewriter transforms your computer into a typewriter until you’ve written a specific number of words or for a certain amount of time. Their Micromanager allows you to only use the programs you need for work.

Get It Here

5. Eat a Snack & Sleep Well

I know this seems unrelated at first, but hear me out:

When do you think people have the most self-control problems?

In the evenings.

Let me tell you why:

eat well

Exerting self-control takes energy, and by the end of the day, everyone’s drained. The last thing they want to do is fight their impulses… so they give in.

Eating gives you the much-needed energy boost that empowers you to persevere.

Roy Baumeister, the author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, says this:

In general, self-control problems and difficulties seem to show up with people who don’t get enough sleep. The longer people have been awake, the more self-control problems happen. Most things go bad in the evening. Diets are broken at the evening snack, not at breakfast or in the middle of the morning. Impulsive crimes are mostly committed after midnight.

Lack of self-control is a problem many admit to having. Yet, it’s a skill anyone can hone. By practicing self-control every day, you’ll strengthen that muscle and as time goes on, you won’t give your temptations a second thought.

What will you do to train your self-control?

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Boost Your Self-Control With These Simple Strategies