Whatever you thought about achieving in 2021 on New Year’s Eve – it will require an additional ingredient you might not have thought of before.
This little but necessary topping is called the art of self-control.
What is self-control?
It’s your ability to do these three-fold things:
- Avoiding undesirable behaviors,
- Increasing desirable behaviors,
- Achieving long-term goals
To simplify this – imagine if you wanted to shed 5 kg weight this January. How will self-control help you? It’ll make you avoid junk food, push you to eat more healthy food items, consistently do that workout, and eventually see you stick to your plan and lose those 5 kgs.
Do we know self-control?
These are some of the various terms used as substitutes for self-control. And yes, we have heard at least one of these somewhere before.
Do we exercise it?
When was the last time you planned something for your life and achieved it? Any common goal like saving money or giving up a bad habit? It wouldn’t have been possible to accomplish it without exercising this beautiful art of self-control that we all practice in our lives without even realizing it.
Our responses guide our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. These responses can be regulated by us to achieve our life goals and essentially why we, human beings, are different from the rest of the animal kingdom.
The Science behind Self-Control
The planning, problem-solving, and decision center of our brains is called the prefrontal cortex. This part of our brain is significantly larger than possessed by other mammals. Self-control is majorly rooted here in the rich nerve connection of the prefrontal cortex. It helps us to plan better, evaluate alternative courses of action, helps avoid things we might regret later, and manage our impulses as and when they arrive.
There is a debate if a certain degree of self-control ability is innate (genetically hardwired) or learned (development as a result of experience). Most experts believe that self-control can be cultivated with the use of healthy practices and hence, can be learned with time.
Benefits of Self-Control
Apart from its most obvious advantage of helping you react better and resisting a temptation you have wanted to control for the longest time, self-control offers the following benefits as well:
- Greater probability of success: If you have self-control, you are less distracted. It helps you manage your resources and time better and hence, a more focused approach towards your long-term goals.
- Better relationships with people: Remember the last time you wanted to throw a tantrum but instead decided not to and saved the day? That’s the flavor self-control brings to the table. It helps you regulate your negative emotions like jealousy, hatred, and anger.
- Improved decision-making ability: One of the most underrated self-control features is its ability to enhance your decision-making process. It helps you to realize and accept things you might have known before and to reinforce the decisions that are good for your body and mind.
How to improve it for your well-being?
Three quick, simple tips and tricks that you can easily include in your daily life to improve your self-control are:
- Meditate – Slow down your thoughts. It helps you control your gut impulses.
- Focus – Focus on one goal at a time. Gather your willpower in one place and use all your resources towards achieving that goal.
- Plan – Keep a to-do list or make a planner. Start with something as simple as what you want to do tomorrow, and then take it further by planning for your future.
So, the next time you are about to throw a tantrum or go deep into your aggression zone, it would be a nice reminder to see up your wall and remind yourself how exceptionally powerful you are when you take control of your life.
Self-control – this is precisely where the magic begins.