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The mental hacks that level up your self-control

What tempts us

We vary widely in terms of what tempts us.

If you take the time to look into your habits and biases, you can recognize the problems that you need to work on. Once you understand the sources of your self-control issues, you can begin directing the right resources toward fixing them.

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The mental hacks that level up your self-control

The mental hacks that level up your self-control

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20191217-the-mental-hacks-that-level-up-your-self-control

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Self-control

It's the ability to do something that helps you in the long-term, instead of something that might satisfy your immediate desires.

But for most of the people, immediate desires are irresistible, and so we end up sacrificing the well-being of our future selves easily.

What tempts us

We vary widely in terms of what tempts us.

If you take the time to look into your habits and biases, you can recognize the problems that you need to work on. Once you understand the sources of your self-control issues, you can begin directing the right resources toward fixing them.

Improve self-control at work

Take a future-oriented approach to your day, such as planning breaks and the time slots for checking emails in advance.

If you can refrain from resigning to your urges before the time you’ve assigned for yourself, you may achieve a greater hold on your overall self-control.

The foundation of self-control

By practicing healthier living away from the workplace, you can gather the strength and stamina to help you control your worst urges when it matters most.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Self-Control

 ... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.

Research on Self-Control
  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. 
  • The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
  • A health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
  • Research has found that self-control is a limited resource. In the long-term, exercising self-control tends to strengthen it. 
Motivation and Monitoring

A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.

  • There needs to be a clear goal and the motivation to change. Having an unclear or overly general goal and insufficient motivation can lead to failure.
  • You need to monitor your actions daily towards the achievement of the goal.
  • You need to have willpower.

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Brute willpower doesn't work

So we should stop worshiping self-control and start thinking about diluting the power of temptation. Because resisting temptation either only has short-term gains or can be an outright failu...

Willpower is not the lucky ticket to success

Studies have shown that people that are really good at achieving their goals are not the ones that put more effort into exerting self-control in the face of temptations, but the ones that experience fewer temptations to start with.

People who are good at self-control
  • They actually enjoy the activities some of us resist (eating healthy, studying, exercising)
  • They have better decision-making habits
  • Some people just experience fewer temptations
  • It’s easier to have self-control when you’re wealthy - when you’re poor, the future is less certain.

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Self-control

We all possess the ability to develop self-control. 

Instead of immediately responding to impulses, we can plan and evaluate our actions beforehand.

Master Self-control
  • Eat. Our brains need fuel to run properly, and when that fuel runs low, the brain has difficulty regulating our emotions. Eat high protein foods.
  • Meditate. Devote a few minutes a day to simply focusing on your breath and your senses. You will be calmer and your decision making will be sounder.
  • Sleep. Your brain’s ability to absorb glucose is significantly diminished without rest. Stay consistent with your sleep every night.
  • Exercise.
  • Force Yourself until a new habit is formed.
  • Get Others Involved. Find a support system.
  • Do Your Research. Whatever your struggle, make it your priority to be the master of it.
Self-control
Self-control

It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.

For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...

Why self-control matters

People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.

They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.

Biological limits to self-control

Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.

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Plan For the Future
Plan For the Future

Being proactive and thinking long-term while making decisions in the present is something that primes us for a better and deliberate future.

We start to consider the secon...

Self-Investing

Take care of yourself in the long run with these compounding activities:

  1. Learning how to make something of value to others.
  2. Learning a skill that makes you stand out of the crowd.
  3. Reading books about distinct topics that are relevant to your career and personal growth.
  4. Setting up a broad-based fund that invests some money from your income, to build your wealth.
Reading To Get Smarter

Reading makes our brain exercise, and all successful people share this habit.

Reading reduces stress and increases your emotional intelligence. The slice of life your brain is exposed to, whether you read for self-improvement or pleasure, will make you more focused at work.

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Working strategically
Working strategically

A famous quote from Thomas Edison is that "genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

While passion and perseverance are essential to reaching your ...

The strategic mindset

A strategic mindset questions and refines your current approach while facing setbacks and challenges. People with a strategic mindset continuously look for a more efficient route.

We might all benefit from thinking strategically in the pursuit of our goals.

Understanding our thinking processes

A new study found a strategic mindset may make the difference between success or failure.

We should be aware and understand our own thinking processes. Useful strategies would include tracking your progress, recognizing your flaws and the areas that need improvement, then creating steps to overcome those challenges.

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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 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.

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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The Dark Side Of Self Control
The Dark Side Of Self Control

Agreeable, organized individuals seem to have a suppressed, dark side in their personality.

Model citizens, and people with high self-control, and those who are resistant to impulsive behav...

Self Control And Moral Character

People with high levels of self-control are generally seen to be healthy, well-rounded individuals who are ideally less likely to act violently or aggressively.

New research shows that this behaviour pattern may be to gain acceptance and tread the social norms as a means to one’s end, being selfish and self-centred in private.

High Self-Control

People with high self-control have a surprising behavioural trait of being shrewd and cruel according to various studies:

  1. They are more likely to cover up an anti-social act to avoid getting caught, like for dangerous driving.
  2. They ended up being keener to kill hundreds of bugs in a grinder, without any feeling of remorse.
  3. They electrocuted their opponents in a TV game to a much higher degree than others, not knowing that the electrocution is being feigned by the contestant.

But more research needs to be done before we slot someone’s moral values and behavioural traits into predictable patterns.

Self-Control

Self-control is a key component of emotional intelligence, yet in a study where two million people were asked to rank order their strengths in 24 different skills, self-control ended up in t...

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.
Act as If You Are In Total Control
Act as If You Are In Total Control

Most successful people do feel good luck played some role in their success. But they don't wait for it or worry about bad luck. They act as if success or failure is totally within their c...

Ignore What You Can’t Influence

Mental strength isn’t an unlimited resource, don’t waste it on things you can’t control.

Do what you can. Be your own change--but don't try to make everyone else change.

See The Past as Training

Learn from your mistakes, and those from others too, but let them go. The past is just training; it doesn't define you.

When something bad happens, see it as an opportunity to learn something you didn't know. When another person makes a mistake, learn from it and see it as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

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