We all have things that we’d like to improve about ourselves, but for each flaw that we’d like to change, we have something that we likely pride ourselves on. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people who can say self-control is something they’re good at; in fact, it’s more likely that better self-control is one thing a lot of us would like to change.
Luckily, it’s not too difficult to work on when your know-how. Some people practice self-control through the median of adhering to the Ramadan rules or abstaining from something during Lent, but that’s not everyone’s bag. We’ve put together this list of five tips that should help you practice more self-control – no matter what part of your life it is that requires it.
1. Exercise More
Exercise and self-control might sound completely unrelated, but they’re not. Exercise has a wide range of benefits for both mental and physical health – this we know – but one of the little-known benefits is that short bouts of exercise have been proven to increase a person’s self-control. This is because when you exercise, more oxygen and blood is sent to the pre-frontal cortex area of the brain. Coincidentally, the pre-frontal cortex is responsible for self-control. The more blood and oxygen it receives, the better your ability to exercise self-control!
2. Keep Your Sugar Up
This is a tip that needs to be taken in moderation. Glucose is basically gas for your brain; it’s what your brain likes most. When it’s got a good amount of glucose in it, your brain works at a far better capacity. Now, it’s careful to note that too much glucose isn’t good for you, but you need just enough to keep it ticking over. When you demonstrate acts of self-control, your blood glucose levels decrease, and lower amounts of blood glucose mean that you’re less able to maintain your ability to exert willpower.
3. Ask Yourself One Question
For the most part, you should never allow yourself to ask the ‘what if?’ question. It can be hugely damaging and usually leads to nothing good … except when it comes to self-control. When presented with something tempting, you should ask yourself: ‘what if I don’t do this?’ This will lead you to think about the consequences of your actions. In the case of saving money, you might realize that not doing it will mean you can’t go on that holiday or buy that item for another month, and this could be all it takes for you to showcase self-control.
4. Surround Yourself With Good Influences
A lot of people pride themselves on being the bad influence in their friendship group. Usually, this is quite innocent, but it can be quite damaging in the long-term. Instead of friends who always talk you out of something, surround yourself with people who regularly showcase good self-control. It will be much easier for you to improve this aspect of yourself if you can see other people exhibiting the behavior you are striving for.
5. Actively Avoid Temptation
There are times when you need to take accountability and re-visit how you do things, and that usually comes in the form of being proactive instead of reactive. This can be a hard thing to establish and might take some time to do, especially if you’re in the habit of being reactive. You might even find being proactive is more effort and more of a hindrance. An example is, you might find you have no self-control when it comes to buying chocolate, and every day on your way to work you go past a chocolate shop which makes it very hard to show willpower. Going past the chocolate shop might be the quickest route to work, but for your own benefit, you could try another route. Sure, it might you longer to get to your end destination, but by removing the temptation you’ll be able to better exert self-control.
Hopefully, these five tips help you on your quest to improve yourself and have more self-control.