How different would your life look if you had better self-control?
Learning how to have self-control is one of the most valuable skills a person can have. Improving it will go a long way in helping you handle difficult situations.
Like anything, this is a skill that you can develop, but it can take some time. This article will look at how you can have self-control with 5 strategies that will help you deal with difficult situations.
What Is Self-Control & Why Is It Important?
Self-control will be one of the most important aspects of your life. It may be one of the most crucial things that helps improve your success and happiness. That’s why understanding this concept is so important.
No man is free who cannot control himself.
Self-control is the ability to prevent negative actions that can spiral out of control. We can also consider it self-discipline, and if you have more of it, it can help you have:
- Stronger relationships
- Better love life
- Improved health
- Improved financial success
- A better impact on the world and lasting legacy
These things probably look pretty good to you and they all start with self-control. When you have a lack of it, it can lead to anger, resentment, frustration, and pessimism. This makes thriving much more difficult. It can also feel you don’t have any control over your own life.
The easiest example is nutrition. Without self-control, it could be easy to just constantly eat junk food all day long. Choosing to eat junk food is an easy decision while it takes self-discipline to avoid it and make healthier choices.
If you continue eating the junk, it can lead to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and many other nasty conditions. This can also lead to depression and the likelihood of continuing to turn to that junk food. A lack of self-control in this situation can literally threaten your life.
So with this in mind, here is how to have the self-control to handle difficult situations:
1. Remind Yourself How You Will Feel
Using the junk food example, we all know how good it tastes when you’re eating it as it’s designed to induce pleasure. But you know how awful you feel later on – not only physically but you may also feel guilty. The next time you’re tempted by junk, remind yourself of how you will feel after you consume it and this can help you have more discipline in the moment.
If you can’t control your temper and lash out at someone, you usually feel guilty after. The next time something might set you off, remind yourself of how bad you always feel after.
2. Keep Your Brain More Active
This is important because engaging in creative outlets and hobbies require discipline and commitment. The discipline from these things strengthens your brain regarding impulse control.
It’s difficult because we are hard-wired to find the easy way out of things as a way of self-preservation. Just like your muscles need strengthening to grow, your brain needs the action of discipline for the same thing.
Not only does a creative discipline like painting or music strengthen this part of the brain, but it also keeps your mind more engaged and active. Spending hours watching mindless TV, or scrolling through social media puts you into more of a vegetative state and weakens your ability to control yourself.
3. Stop Blaming The World
When you blame outside forces, it allows you to avoid responsibility for your own actions. When you constantly do this, you don’t allow any self-discipline or self-control to develop.
It’s like practicing for a sport: you need to practice being accountable to handle any situation better. This means you need to own your control. Blaming the world or others is the lazy way out and, again, doesn’t allow your brain to develop impulse control.
It’s also important to understand what is and isn’t in your control. Someone cutting you off in traffic is out of your control, but the way you respond to it is in your control. The more you can practice how you react and control your emotions, the better you will be at handling difficult situations.
4. Recognize That Difficult Situations Will Arise
This is where acceptance is critical. Pretending that you will never face trials and tribulations is just fooling yourself. Some people like to walk around in a blissful state of ignorance, but this will do you no favors. If you constantly do this, you will become more and more overwhelmed when difficult situations arise.
Acknowledging that stressful scenarios will occur will help you be better prepared to handle them. Pretending they don’t exist can lead you to fall apart when you eventually have to face them.
5. Set Goals For Yourself
There are many ways how you can learn to have self-control, but this may be the most important. When you set a goal, you help to set your choices. Everyone needs something to work towards and without that, you can easily veer off course.
Veering off course leads to negative, lazy, easy, and possibly harmful choices. The more specific your goal, the better you can reach it. Goals keep you focused and disciplined. They can start small but gradually can get more specific. It’s also a good idea not to make them unrealistic but something you know you can accomplish.
If you are working on your self-control with nutrition, start with the goal of having one leafy green salad a day. This will be more achievable than overhauling your entire diet to local organic produce all in one day. It also helps to avoid goals that are abstract. Planning on exercising 2-3 times a week for twenty-minutes is more concrete and easier to manage than just “improving health”.
No matter what your goals are, they will get you on the right path to self-discipline, keep you focused, and help you handle difficult situations that may detract you from them.
Learning how to have self-control will not happen overnight and it’s important to recognize this. Understanding that self-discipline is a process will help you stay on track with it.
When difficult situations arise, it’s your reaction to them that allows you to handle them. Remind yourself that your reaction is in your control and you can get to a place to handle things naturally and effortlessly.
Developing your self-discipline by keeping your brain engaged, not blaming the world, and setting goals for yourself is like training for the big event. When you get to the moment when self-control is needed, you will already have had the practice.
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