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Self-control, like other skills, can be developed through ongoing practice. Here are seven simple but effective exercises that will help you better manage yourself and achieve your goals.
When it comes to the development of self-control, do not wait for instant results. Regular practice and gradual progress – this is what will help to preserve the results for a long time.
Every day, your habits lead you on the right or wrong path. There are no neutral habits. You can move forward by developing self-control and self-discipline or slowly destroy your ability to control yourself.
Here are a few habits that seem insignificant, but in the case of prolonged practice provide huge benefits for self-control.
1. Act despite discomfort
The things from which you will benefit in the long run are quite difficult to follow from the beginning. For example, when you just go on a healthy diet, you feel pretty uncomfortable, but in the future, refusing junk food is very important for your body.
Remember: it’s difficult only at the beginning of the journey. Your mind wants to stay in the comfort zone, but it is the way out of this zone that helps to change lives for the better.
The same with any process that brings positive results. For example, to write an article and receive a stream of gratitude from readers, you have to erase five times and write from the beginning again and walk a couple of kilometers around the room before inspiration comes to you.
2. Set big goals
It’s so easy to watch funny videos on YouTube… But you have time! In any case, you should prioritize and determine for yourself the most important activities.
When you are full of doubts and your level of self-control tends to zero, understanding what is really important to you can save the situation. Of course, even knowing about an important project, you can start procrastinating, but deep inside you understand that your business is much more important than the moment of comfort that procrastination will provide you.
Determine for yourself the most important goals in different areas of life: health, well-being, relationships.
If you like chocolate and set yourself the goal of losing 5 kilograms of excess weight, then you understand that a brief rush of dopamine from eating your favorite sweet is not more important than your goal.
Of course, this does not mean that you will protect yourself from all your bad habits if you just setting goals for yourself. Remember: there will be no quick changes, a long process of working on yourself is waiting for you. But every time you remind yourself of the ultimate goal, it becomes a little easier for you to pursue it.
As we talked about food, here is a simple rule that is very easy to follow. However, it is just as easy to ignore.
3. Wait 5 minutes before eating something
Or 10 minutes if you are really hungry. Nowadays, we are accustomed to instantly satisfy our needs and desires. Remember how annoyed you are when you only have to wait 10 seconds before loading a slowing site.
When it comes to food, we often do not experience real hunger, but emotional dependence on snacks or dependence on sweets. So when it seems to you that you are hungry, it may actually be a trick of the mind to get a little psychological satisfaction that comes with eating.
Controlling the amount of food consumed is a huge problem that becomes apparent when you are weighing yourself. But, when you want to eat something, it is not so obvious.
Waiting for 5-10 minutes will give you time to pull yourself together and either completely give up a snack, or eat as a result of much less and more wholesome foods. In addition, you realize that a little discomfort is sometimes useful. And the food will seem even tastier when you wait and want it.
4. Set a sleep schedule
Regular falling asleep at the same time and getting up when you need to get up is a big problem for many people. Here you need to understand that losing control is a contagious thing.
If you lose control over one area of your life, it extends to other areas.
That is if you fell asleep late and overslept, the next day you are more likely to be unable to resist junk food, skip a workout in the gym and postpone the execution of an important project for later.
At night, you are most likely to browse the pages on the Internet without any special purpose. And it does not end when you go to bed. The next day, you continue to do many useless things.
On the other hand, when you set your schedule for sleep and strictly adhere to it, your morning begins with useful things – what you have planned and what is really important.
The ability to take control of our wishes when the time comes for sleep affects your reactions and actions in the morning. If you made the right choice, the right actions await you the next day.
5. Make the bed as soon as you get up
This is one of the most important points for productivity throughout the day. Seriously. Such a simple action – making your bed – has a huge impact on productivity and self-control throughout the day.
If you make the bed right after you get up, your mind is set to work. Your brain receives a signal that the time for sleep has ended and a new working day has begun.
If you immediately go out of bed to the computer to check your email, or to the kitchen to have breakfast, this sets the tone for your day. If you procrastinate on such a simple task as cleaning a bed, which takes only a minute of time, the rest of the tasks on your list will be similarly moved aside for fun and insignificant activities.
6. Arrange a workout for 7 minutes
Most people set a goal to start doing sports or fitness from the new year, from the beginning of any month, or at least from Monday. Do not repeat the mistakes of others and start a little practice today.
Training for 7 minutes requires neither sportswear, equipment, nor trips to the gym or to the stadium. You will not be able to find an excuse for yourself, except for “I do not want”.
You will surely have doubts about whether it is worth doing this, will there be any sense in 7 minutes? Maybe then do not do it at all? It is your mind that is trying to stay in the comfort zone, ignore this voice, and begin the training.
If you need some motivation check the list of best applications for exercise, weight loss, and nutrition! Especially I recommend the “Seven” application – this is exactly what you need if you don’t have time!
7. Meditate for 5 minutes
Meditation for the mind is like exercise for the muscles. It strengthens it and improves cognitive abilities. And the more you meditate, the more control you gain over yourself. And the ability to control your mind makes you simply invincible.
But how to start if you have never meditated before? Try different applications like Headspace: Meditation & Sleep or MyLife Meditation.
If you don’t have enough motivation to start, read the book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson. It discusses in detail the different types of meditation and the benefits of this activity.
Start with 5 minutes a day – you can find 5 minutes in even the busiest schedule. It is advisable to meditate at the same time, for example at seven in the morning, immediately after waking up or right before going to bed.
Meditation will teach you to control your mind, which, in turn, will give you strength for self-control. In addition, daily practice will help to level up the discipline.
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