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Many people lack self-control. It’s a trait that serves an important purpose in different aspects of life. Research shows that people who are able to exert higher levels of self-control are able to live more successful and satisfying lives. 

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Here are some ways you can strengthen your self-control even when you feel like you lack any form of it.

See The Big Picture 

Big-picture thinking is a powerful way to not get bogged down by minor issues. When you have your focus on the outcome in spite of a few challenges, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed by those challenges. For example, if you’re working on a project that involves so many steps, let your focus be on the finished project and the reward you’d get from completing it. In this way, you’ll be more motivated to complete it instead of giving in to the temptation of abandoning it. 

Plan Ahead 

If you want to be able to resist the temptation to give in when you encounter trying situations, then you should have a plan beforehand. For example, if you have an important project you’d like to complete but there’s a possibility there would be a power outage, you could buy enough petrol to last you throughout the period when there’ll be no light or you can set up a plan B activity you can do while you wait for the power to be restored.

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Practice Makes Perfect

You won’t become more disciplined overnight but consistently taking steps to improve your self-control would get you results. That’s why it’s important to see it as a skill that can be improved.

You can go the extra mile by deliberately putting yourself in situations that require you to have self-control. For example, you could gradually put yourself in situations where you get easily agitated but have to exert self-control and work your way up to more challenging ones.

Engage In Short Bouts Of Exercise 

You don’t even have to be at the gym seven days a week. Studies show that short bouts of exercise improve your ability to exercise self-control.

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This is because the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for self-control receives more blood when you engage in short bouts of exercise. Spare some time every day to do a few minutes of exercise.

Get More Sleep

Studies show that sleep deprivation depletes glucose in the pre-frontal cortex, reducing the fuel required for self-control. It’s easy to see why sleep deprivation often leads to grumpiness. Aim for above 6 hours of sleep per night in order to feel energised to take on the day and exert self-control in different situations that arise. 

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This article was first published on 30th April 2022


My name is Samuel Okoruwa. I am an ardent researcher, reading is life and writing is fun.

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