Improve self-control by forming habits

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Why is it important to form habits to help you with your self-control?

If we take a look at self-control, it’s usually for one of two things:

  1. doing something you don’t want to do.
  2. not doing something you do want to do.

By having to do these two possibilities it actually draws from the willpower you have and, as you have less willpower, you have less self-control.

However, the thing with willpower is that you’ve only got a set amount and, if you have no willpower, then you have no self-control because you have no resistance against temptation and no power to keep you going when you want to quit.

Therefore, if you have set yourself a goal, such as weight loss, then you’re going to have to refine how you eat and you’re going to have to do more exercise. These things are going to require you to have willpower.  However, what researchers have found with willpower is that everything that requires willpower, even though it might not be for your goal for weight loss; it might be getting out of bed in the morning, it might be able to do more work, it might being able to hold your tongue when somebody gets smart or say something offensive, draws from the same source.

Screen Shot 2013 12 21 at 9.48.19 AM 300x168 Improve self control by forming habits Therefore, if you go through the day and all of this is drained and then you get to the end of the day and you’ve got to exercise, you have no willpower left and, therefore, you won’t be able to get yourself motivated to do the things you need to do to be able to achieve your weight loss goals.

The way around this is to be able to use what little willpower you do have every day to start forming habits, because once a habit is ingrained, you don’t need willpower to do it.  It just becomes an unconscious process and so you’re going to be more likely to do the things that you need to do to achieve the goals.

How do you form habits?

  1. decide your goal.
  2. break it down into small components.
  3. pick the first component and start practicing whatever habit you need to do to achieve that.
  4. once you have achieved that, you go on to the second one.

What this is doing is the willpower that you have every day is going to lock in the first habit and then, when you move on to the second one, you no longer need the willpower for the first one because it’s now unconscious process. Now the willpower you have for that day can be used for the second component and so on and so on.

You might have a goal to be able to run 5Ks, so the first thing you look is be able to run 100 meters.  You might set yourself in the first week of running 100 meters.  Now, what this is going to do is it’s going to get yourself in the habit of getting outside the door because once you are outside the door things become easier.

It’s often getting on the shoes and opening the door and getting out that’s the hardest part.  If you think “I’ve got to run 5Ks”, then that’s too daunting and you don’t even start, but if you know “I just got to get outside the door and I’ve got to go 100 meters”, then you can do that.

Once you do that you’re building up the self-confidence that you can actually do it and you’re ingraining the pattern of putting on your shoes and getting out and that becomes an unconscious process.  Then, as you start building it up, it comes easier and easier and you’ve had little wins along the way.

If you’re starting to make the changes to your habits, I suggest you go check out my video on the three mindsets that can influence your ability to change.

The key takeaway point:

Don’t rely on your willpower, which is finite, to be able to achieve your self-control goals. 

 I suggest you pick one habit at a time and start small and keep repeating that until you move on to your second one.  Also, I suggest you start practicing meditation. 

This is the master habit to develop for self-control and also great for improving your ability to manage stress, impose control and self-awareness.

If you want to check that out, click the link below and that will take you through to my Mastering Meditation ten-part video course which you’ll get free access to and it will teach you the four most powerful, but easy to learn, meditation techniques.


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