Have you tried hard to resist the urge to eat a decadent piece of chocolate cake when you are trying to lose weight? Or do you have to force yourself out of bed on a cozy winter morning to get to the gym because you want a healthier body? We have all faced such moments in life where self-control comes into focus - be it high or low.
What is self-control?
Self-control is defined as the ability to manage one's behaviors, emotions, or impulses to achieve set goals.
In layman’s terms, self-control is explained as the ability to exercise control over oneself. When you resist doing or feeling something you want to, even when you are tempted, that is when you maintain true self-control. This can be an incredibly powerful habit to develop as it can help you achieve your goals and ensure maximum productivity.
Some examples of self-control include:
- Emotional: To control your urge to get angry even when the situation looks like that. When somebody has misbehaved with you or hurt your feelings, you will surely feel angry. But if you can prevent yourself from showing your anger, that is when you show self-control over your emotions.
- Health: When a doctor urges his patient to lose weight or quit any addiction, it is your self-control that prevents you from eating junk food and avoiding getting addicted to anything.
- Mental: As a student or working professional, when you decide to reduce your screen time and usage of social media, you exercise self-control and take extra efforts to ensure you maintain your screen time.
What causes lack of Self-control?
Self-control is a quality that everyone admires. Having low self-control can have an adverse impact on your work and your overall life. This topic has been around for decades; let's explore the psychology behind self-control and the causes behind the lack of self-control.
1) Limited willpower
Will power defines your ability to exert self-control because it directs your attention and motivation to work and achieve your goals, be it in school, a workplace, or social life. With limited willpower, you will be able to control only a portion of your work and not in its entirety.
You should try to take care of all the important tasks when your willpower is the strongest. It could be during the early hours of the day or sometime in the evening. It will take some practice to figure out when your willpower is the strongest, as it can vary from person to person.. As you work on improving your willpower, you’ll improve your self-control.
2) Delaying gratification
The ability to delay gratification is the ability to wait to get what you want. This is an essential element of self-control and involves putting off short-term desires in favor of long-term rewards. This is extremely essential in attaining your goals and helps in the overall well-being and success in life.
According to the Marshmallow test conducted in 1960, children who were able to delay gratification for greater rewards performed better in life than other kids who easily give in to temptation. This is similar for everyone, and when you cannot resist the short-term benefits for greater rewards, you reduce your self-control.
3) Lack of planning
When there is a lack of planning and direction, there will be a lack of self-control. If you want to lose weight, you need to plan your diet and workout sessions so that you do not miss out on anything. Instead of hoping that you will work on time, it is essential to plan and give yourself the right direction towards achieving your goals. The plan should be realistic and one which can be followed so that you do not over-commit yourself. One of the simplest ways of planning your day is to make notes one day earlier. When you write down your priorities, you tend to remember more, and plan your schedule according to the tasks.
4) Lack of goals
Sometimes you lack self-control because you are not clear on your goals and what you want to achieve. For example, you might be working at a high-salaried job but are not satisfied with the work.. Having clear goals that align with your passion will keep you happy throughout, and you are likely to put your best efforts at work. It is essential to feel motivated to achieve your goals, and that will only happen once you set clear goals that can satisfy you, both mentally and physically. As daunting as it may seem to figure out what your goals are, simply start writing down all the things you want to accomplish in your life. Then, only circle the top 3, and figure out how you can achieve them.
Moreover, it is important to have goals that are concrete and meaningful. When you set vague goals like doing well in life or increasing your company's sales, you will not be able to push yourself to work because these goals cannot be measured as concrete results. Lack of definite goals is also one of the causes of procrastination, which hampers your ability to work. Hence, it is important to set defined goals that matter to you and encourage you to retain your self-control.
5) Decision fatigue
Low self-control is often a result of decision fatigue. This usually happens after a long day at work when your mind is completely exhausted and unable to make further decisions. During this time, you can fall victim to incorrect planning, goal setting, or decision-making. Moreover, when you experience a similar feeling, you lose your self-control and hamper your work productivity.
6) Unsuitable conditions
Self-control is dependent on factors like mental fatigue, mood, and emotions. When you are not in the right state of mind, you cannot pay complete attention to your work and this will likely decrease your self-control.
7) Lack of discipline
Low self-control stems from a lack of discipline. When you are not disciplined, you do not follow a proper way of working. You keep switching between work or scrolling your Instagram feed in between essential tasks. This leads to low quality of work and reduces your self-control. With a lack of self-control, you will be unable to reach your goals. Moreover, you will run into the same obstacles again and again. Hence, it is essential to understand the importance of self-control.
Importance of Self-control
The importance of self-control is plentiful, and it is essential for a successful life. It regulates our behavior and helps us achieve our short-term and long-term goals.
Some of the critical benefits of self-control are: Health and fitness: With high self-control, you will be able to maintain your health and wellness.You will make use of most of your gym memberships and diets and be able to achieve all your fitness goals. With high self-control, you will be able to resist the urge to eat high-calorie food that deviates you from your goals and achieve what you had planned for yourself.
- Academic and career success: Self-control plays a significant role in your academic and career success. It keeps you disciplined to follow your goals and has a positive impact on your work productivity. When employees are motivated and disciplined to follow all they plan to complete, companies will witness definite growth in their work.
- High self-esteem: A higher self-control leads to increased self-esteem. When you can follow your task list, complete all your work, and achieve the necessary goals, you will witness a rise in your self-esteem. This comes with a sense of satisfaction towards your work. Better relations: With high self-control, you are able to maintain better relations with others. Even if you do not like someone at work, with high self-control, you will still be able to meet them cordially.
- Happy mood: With high self-control, you will be able to complete your tasks on time and gain a sense of satisfaction. This, in turn, lifts your mood and keeps you happy.
Self-control is an important skill not only for goal attainment but also for a happy and successful life. It includes numerous benefits so that you are able to be productive at work. It includes being able to stay on the task and complete it without any impulsive reactions. Hence, it is essential to develop high self-control, and eventually, improve your productivity.