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Strengthen Your Self-Control

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Self-control: the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.

That’s the dictionary definition of self-control. And while you know what it is, do you know why it’s so important to have it? This quote sums it up well: If you learn self-control, you can master anything.” – Anonymous

Want to cut down on cursing? Self-control! Trying to save money? Self-control. Want to learn to be a better golfer? Self-control?

But how do you strengthen your self-control when it may be a bit lacking? Here are some ways you can do just that!

  • Get Rid of Temptation: If you can possibly get rid of temptations that weaken your self-control – do it! For example, if you’d like to lose a few pounds, maybe you can clear out the junk food from your pantry. When temptation doesn’t exist, it makes it very hard to succumb.
  • Find Your Motivation: Knowing why you want to do something can be a strong motivator. Do you want to stop cursing so your children don’t pick up the habit? Do you want to lose 10 pounds to improve your health? Find your motivation and make it work for you! 
  • Set Goals: You can strengthen your self-control by setting goals that you are going to commit to unwaveringly. Set a large goal, and then set a series of smaller goals that will help you attain that big goal. Think about making your goals SMART. Have you heard of this acronym? Here’s some more information on creating SMART goals that can help!
  • Keep Track of Your Progress: When you have a goal, it can be really disheartening if you don’t think you’re making any progress. In reality, you are probably making more progress than you know. That’s why tracking your progress is important. Did you make the whole morning without cursing? Write it down! Did you lose one pound this week on your goal to lose 20? Right it down. Keeping track of your progress can strengthen your self-control as it encourages you to keep going.
  • Manage Your Stress: What happens when you get stressed? Inevitably, you probably find that your self-control weakens. You can find yourself backsliding, and all of your progress gets derailed. Learn to manage your stress, and you will strengthen your self-control. WebMD has some ideas for stress management that may help.
  • Plan Ahead: Having a plan can go a long way to strengthening your self-control. Are you going into an intense situation where you may lose your cool? Have a plan to handle it. Going out to dinner, but still want to make healthy choices? Make a plan by checking out the menu ahead of time.
  • Find Good Role Models: Surround yourself with people who have the qualities you are trying to obtain. And, if you feel comfortable, tell that person about what you’re trying to achieve. Positive peer pressure can also help.
  • Believe In Yourself: You need to believe in yourself! If you believe you can achieve big goals – you will! And you will improve your self-control to make things happen.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: As with anything, you need to practice self-control. While many may think that self-control is just automatic – it isn’t. The more you practice it, the better you will get.
  • Remind Yourself of the Consequences: Finally, remind yourself that all of your actions have consequences. Cursing in front of your children increases the chance that they will curse. Having an extra helping at dinner means you may not meet your goal of losing weight this week. Have a discussion with yourself about what your choices are doing when it comes to your goals.

Aristotle said, Self-control – what lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.” Use these tips to help you strengthen your self-control and achieve whatever you put your mind to!

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