Self-control allows us to manage the important aspects of our daily life: attention, thoughts, emotions, desires and actions, every day we make decisions to resist impulses that “tempt” us with the expectation of obtaining something of superficial immediate gratification.
In this sense, we should avoid negative interference in the process of “will-power” consolidation, overcoming temptations by modifying or eliminating and suppressing unconscious actions that are beyond our control, like manias, ticks, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, verbal expressions, and repetitive gestures, inappropriate habits, etc.
The central question is: to what extent can we control our volitional impulses and put our decisions into practice? It all depends on the willpower and self-control we have to regulate the decisions made or to master the tempting impulses that arise from within.
To know how to work your self-control, it is first necessary to know what “self-control” is and what its components are. Self-control will help you develop the ability to resist temptations. The ability to do what needs to be done. The awareness of long-term goals.
How to learn to have self-control?
The most effective way to learn to control ourselves is to understand how and why we lose that control. To do this, we have to dissect each of our mistakes: what leads us to yield to a temptation or to leave for tomorrow what we should do today? How can we transform the knowledge of our failures into strategies to succeed?
Self-awareness is essential to focus attention, analyze information and make a decision. In situations where it does not predominate, for example, in automatic cognitive processes or states under the influence of narcotic drugs, the will-power disappears and we lose control of our actions.
Why I don’t have willpower or self-control?
Some distortions affect the process of will formation. In the process of formation, inherent factors may appear like a lack of conviction, if we are not fully convinced of the goodness of the chosen action, we will be very likely to give up on it. Doubts generate insecurity and lower expectations about the expected result.
How to control impulses? How to exercise self-control? Following an approach that allows strengthening our will-power it is necessary to know in which step of the process of formation are we most vulnerable: in the lack of conviction; in the insecurity that weakens the intention; in the lack of energy for the impulse or in the emotional force that dominates in a given moment our will.
Most of our daily decisions follow the implicit system, which is more likely to make mistakes, these usually appear inadvertently to our conscious mind. However, when the explicit system intervenes, in which we invest more cognitive effort, the chances of making the right decision are greater.
One of the techniques of self-control consists of obtaining enough energy to initiate the volitional impulse towards action. For this we will focus attention only on the incentives of the same, that is, on the benefits that we will obtain if we execute it, which acts as the motivation axis, projecting them repeatedly in our mind until the reluctance to initiate the action is eliminated. For example, if we are excited to make a trip but laziness to organize it is an obstacle, we will have to mentally insist on the exciting aspects that led us to think about the trip.
In this sense, we should ask ourselves if we are considering all the benefits or advantages that the action would report or we only consider a few, as there may be other incentives that we have not taken into account.
Another of the most effective self-control techniques is to reinforce successes. Exercising control of the will-power is sometimes suffered and painful, especially because it involves a struggle against ourselves: our sensible self against the tempting self, so it needs continuous reinforcement, that is, in addition to the satisfaction and well-being achieved it is also advisable to reward yourself for every success achieved in this control (a prize, a small pleasure, etc.).
It is evident that the domain of will-power requires considerable effort and implies the mastery of reason before the stimuli that the environment presents us, but whoever achieves it exalts his person, brings security and self-confidence (improves self-esteem) and feels stronger because he perceives the control of one owns life and enjoy this newly found freedom.