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The Science of Developing Self-Control in Life

https://dariusforoux.com/self-control/

dariusforoux.com

The Science of Developing Self-Control in Life
Most of us want to have a fulfilling career, vibrant social life, be in shape, etc. Here's the thing: We need self-control to make those good things happen

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Self-Control Components

Self-Control Components

Self-control has two components:

  • Our ability to resist temptations
  • Our ability to exercise control over our behaviour and emotions.

Self-control plays a key role in our lives, keeping us sane and alive, as we don’t give in to things that may be harmful now or in the future. It involves resilience, tolerance, patience, time and effort investment and deliberate practice.

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Self Control and Eating Healthy

While it’s obvious we need to exhibit a certain amount of self-control while choosing what we put in our bodies, that is not the whole story.

If we educate our bodies and learn about nutrition, longevity and how our individual bodies function, we could be eating a lot healthier.

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The Pleasures Of Life

There is a lot of stuff available for us to do that makes us feel better instantly. Watching TV, going to the beach, drinking alcohol, smoking, and almost every other activity that seems pleasurable to us, giving us temporary pleasure in a jiffy. When we keep doing that, the long term effects are bad, and we feel older, weaker, sicker, while not having any achievement in our lives.

This is a natural process of a slow movement towards disorder, is also the second law of thermodynamics, called Entropy.

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Moving Away From Disorder

If we do not rest, recover, rebuild, adapt, and restore ourselves using self-control, the natural law of entropy (things and systems naturally move towards disorder) takes over our lives and we start to deteriorate.

This deterioration is so slow that it is unnoticeable. We need to invest in ourselves on a daily basis, even if we are not able to see any improvement.

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Purpose and Self-Control

We need to have a singular drive or pursuit that motivates us in our every breath. Shallow pursuits like some materialistic desires cannot make us demonstrate self-control for long.

If we are completely committed to a high pursuit, it won’t be difficult to exercise self-control.

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About Systems

A system is a set of habits, behaviours and productivity hacks that help us stay consistent and productive. One has to practice self-control by picking a direction and sticking with it, making our long-term goals our focus.

Example: If the long-term goal is being a public speaker, the system can be, taking classes, training people, reading and exercising on a daily basis, using self-control to stay on track.

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Take No Stress

If we look into our daily routine, we will find that a lot is being done by us just to minimize and manage our stress. We wind up our ‘springs’ so much by our commitments and work pressure that we have to unwind by taking vacations and buying stuff.

Another way is to not let that much stress creep into you in the first place. As a moderate amount of stress is good for you, you can practice self-control and design your life the way it does not accumulate that much stress. It’s better than coping up with stress.

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Self-Control

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Strategies for self-control

  • Meditate.
  • Eat. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses.
  • Exercise releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses.
  • Sleep. When you are tired, your brain cells’ ability to absorb glucose is highly diminished.
  • Ride the Wave. Desire has a strong tendency to ebb and flow like the tide. Waiting out this wave of desire is usually enough to keep yourself in control.
  • Forgive Yourself when you slip up. Focus on what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

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People With High Hopes

People with high hope have a good number of difficult, challenging goals, and a good scorecard of achievement.

They have lower rates of anxiety and depression and greater happiness. They cope well with problems that consume the rest of the world.

Hope = Goals + Agency + Pathways

Instead of wishful thinking, we need to know what we want (specific goals), and have the drive and passion to go towards it (agency) and should be able to generate methods and devices to achieve what we want (pathways).

When we do a sum total of these three, we get hope: Hope= Goals + Agency + Pathways

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Self-Control

Our logic is paired with emotion, and sometimes our emotions motivate us to make poor decisions. That's where self-control comes in.

Self-Control is difficult to produce

The main reason is that indulgence is much easier than the alternative. 

Self-control requires work. It's easier to focus on work that provides temporary satisfaction.

Boost your willpower

  • The simplest way to get better at anything is to practice. As a weekly exercise, pick something you do in excess and stop for a week. After you've practiced for several weeks, try for longer.
  •  Find Adequate Distractions as a method of self-control.
  • Take Care of Yourself so that you do not deplete your reserves.
  • Make it harder to make the wrong choice. 
  • Introduce Fear. It's easier to adjust your diet or kick a habit if you truly believe it's going to kill you or cause immediate harm.