7 Efficient Techniques to Improve Self-Control ...


While not unattainable, self-control can sometimes be difficult to achieve, since, just like a muscle, our willpower can become too strained or too “flimsy” when not trained properly. With that in mind, let's take a close look at some of the most efficient methods to improve self-control.

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Respect the Ego

According to recent research (Vohs and Heatherton), we have a limited amount of willpower, and when it's close to depletion, it becomes easier to slip into temptation, forgetting about the things we need to do or achieve. Respecting the ego and realizing when willpower levels are low will help prevent loss of control by maintaining inner balance through rest, entertainment and other activities geared to help you disconnect and feel more empowered.


Proper Sleep Hours

Sleep deprivation is a significant problem that needs to be avoided at all costs. While you might believe sleep isn't productive, it actually has a strong impact on the brain, allowing it to reduce stress and operate more efficiently. Moreover, sleep deprivation has been found to reduce glucose levels from the pre-frontal cortex, making it difficult to enact self-control. As a result, any decision can be made more easily after a good night's rest, without the danger of losing your self-control.


Pre-committing to Your Goals

Pre-committing is one of your most effective tools for improved self-control. By enforcing your decision prior to engaging in an activity that could lead to temptation, you will feel more empowered and focused. As long as you commit to relevant goals that your future self can handle, while keeping a balanced schedule, you will be able to maintain and improve your self-control.


Meditation and Relaxation

When self-control levels are low, relaxation is important for replenishing your energy and restoring willpower. Aside from improving attention, memory, sensory response and stress-management abilities, meditation is also known for helping to increase willpower reserves. If you don't like the idea of meditating, a few simple mental and physical relaxation exercises should help you achieve similar results.


Positive Rewards

Encouragement and positive rewards will often help you stick to your activities and fend off temptation. Instinctively, we always try to achieve what we believe is best for ourselves, so that the perception of a significant future gain – even if self-imposed – can lead to positive results.


Stick to Your Plan through Gradual Steps

This is one of the most important techniques for improving self-control. While you might have a plan in place, it is crucial to avoid focusing too intensely on the difficulties and challenges of the bigger picture – which could make you end up discouraging yourself due to fear of failure. Breaking down your activities into small, easy to follow steps can help you focus less on the difficulty of achieving the ultimate goal.


Seek Help from Friends and Family

The help of friends and family can be invaluable when it comes to keeping self-control in check. Since they may have an impartial view of your situation, you can often have them remind you when you need to replenish your willpower reserves, challenge yourself through positive reinforcement, or avoid decision-related stress. A friendly nudge is often all that's needed.

Although self-control can be difficult to achieve, it's not impossible – as you will see if you follow the above tips. Do you agree with this list? Which methods would you use to improve your own willpower?


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