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How To Develop Self-Control

Self Control
Self Control? Do you have some?

Welcome back to another edition of hypnosis news. Looking back on the past year I’ve found self-control to be a recurring theme. My diet. Changes to my daughter’s behaviors in the wake of change. And developing better habits for my family. All have taken some degree of self-control. Which is what we’re talking about today.


“If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

African proverb

Self-control means taking action consistently regardless of your emotional situation. Being able to follow through with a course of action regardless of how upset or angry you become. We are often good at doing this for survival purposes. Though we may miss a few steps when it comes to our self-care.

Just imagine the difference self-control can make on dieting or productivity. Instead of eating that piece of junk food or sitting in front of the tv, better self-control would allow you to make heather choices. Not only will you feel healthier, but significantly more fulfilled both now and later. In short, the ability to delay gratification can greatly benefit your life.

Research has shown that people with higher self-control have better relationship skills. They are less likely to abuse substances or to struggle with their food cravings. More importantly, they have fewer mental health problems and a better overall emotional health. By comparison, those with low self-control are often driven by their mood swings. You get ahead only to fall behind significantly that you consider giving up.

While self-control is difficult, there are a few things you can do to improve yours. If you are looking to develop your self-control here are a few of the most powerful things you can do.

Build Some Mental Muscles

Meditation For Self-Control

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

Meditation is one of the best methods to improve self-control. Not only does it improve impulse control, but it also improves so many other skills related to self-control. With meditation, you can improve your self-awareness, stress management, emotion regulation, focus, and attention. Just like practicing hypnosis, our brain improves in these skills when we practice them. Over time your brain becomes more perceptive of situations requiring self-control. Regular meditation increases gray brain matter in the prefrontal cortex and in other regions supporting self-awareness.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise improves a wide range of factors related to self-control. Some even say its the closest thing we have to a wonder drug (at least as far a self-control is concerned). Though one might be able to make an argument for hypnosis even above that. The factors improved by exercise include:

  • Mood
  • Stress management
  • Anxiety
  • Energy

Self-Compassion over Self-Criticism

“You can’t always control the wind, but you can control your sails.”

Dr. Bob Chope

Stop hitting yourself mentally. We are so mean to ourselves. The things we often say in our own minds are crueler than anything we would say to someone we love. Talk to and treat yourself like you are dealing with someone you really care about. Would you say those hurtful things to them? If not then replace them in your own mind as well.

Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It’s also the best predictor of depression. By comparison self-compassion and self-support, especially in the face of failure, are associated with better self-control.

Just Say No

“Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.”

Elie Wiesel

Social pressures cause us to say yes all the time. From the bandwagon effect to those in authority over us, there is a lot of pressure to over-commit ourselves. People appeal to our sense of altruism or even our sense of commitment. Learning to know when to say no is paramount to self-control. If you find yourself asking why you’ve chosen a given path, you are likely saying yes too much. All of us have to be able to set and enforce boundaries. These boundaries then allow us space to make choices about what we want to do and therefore have self-control.

Get Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

“Self-control is the power within you that holds the reins of anger, intolerance, and impulsiveness.”

Remez Sasson

Striving for what we want often requires us to go at least slightly out of our comfort zone. To be bold. Getting into unique and challenging situations creates distress, discomfort, or maybe even pain. However, it also helps us develop self-control. In fact, overwhelming situations (in limited doses) are great opportunities to not only develop self-control but to learn to manage stress. Anything that could potentially involve pain (emotional or physical) or embarrassment can help you stretch yourself just a bit. If you can learn to remain composed in uncomfortable situations, it will make it just that much easier to do it in your daily life as well.

Know Your Weaknesses

Weakness is just an opportunity to improve yourself. Everyone has a weakness or two. We are human after all. It may be snacks. It may be technology or a game. Regardless they have a similar effect on us. Often we attempt to pretend that we have no chinks in our armor. However, research shows it’s far healthier to own up to your flaws and you cannot overcome them until you do.

Tempting, Isn’t It?

“The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.”

– Josh Billings

Temptations are often our biggest struggle with self-control. Put your temptations out of sights, out of mind to help with your self-control concerns.


A clear vision or destination is vital to self-control. You also have to define what success means to you. If you don’t know where you are going it’s easy to get lost.

New Habits, New Behaviors

Developing new habits can be a daunting task. To avoid feeling overwhelmed keep it simple. Every goal can be broken down into smaller, simpler steps. It’s easier to swallow a small bit rather than choke on the whole cookie. So to speak. Take baby steps. Eventually, when you’re ready, you can add more goals to your list.

Your Body Is Your Temple

“Personal health is related to self-control and to the worship of life in all its natural beauty – self-control bringing with it happiness, renewed youth, and long life.”

Maria Montessori

Being hangry doesn’t help anything. More importantly, it affects your willpower. Think back to a time you were angry? How easy was it to fall off the rails of some goal you were attempting to achieve. Research has proven that low blood sugar often weakens a person’s resolve, making you grumpy and pessimistic.

Perception Is Everything

A study at Stanford determined an individual’s willpower is often predetermined by their beliefs. If you have a limiting belief regarding what you can accomplish, then you have just set a barrier for yourself. Hypnotist has this problem. If a hypnotist tells you smoking cessation will take x amount of sessions, then that’s what he believes. As well as what will likely be the case in his practice. Be careful of the limits you set for yourself or you may limit your capacity.

Plan B

This is the one I find myself best at. Maybe to an unhealthy degree. Planning on alternative situations and how to handle them is a great way to work on developing self-control. Of course, the trick is to not let the planning impact either the implementation or your ability to enact the first plan. Give yourself a plan to deal with future temptations.

Reward Your Efforts

A reward system is great for working towards self-control. Just like a child getting a treat for good behavior, adults enjoy rewards as well. It gives you something to look forward to. Anticipation is a powerful tool. It gives you something to focus on so you’re not only thinking of what you are trying to change.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Self-control is a learned behavior, not one we are born with. It is a conditioned response that takes practice. Just like a muscle. it requires repetition and works to get stronger. The effort and focus that self-control requires can be draining. Ultimately, it is far better to resist the urge for immediate gratification. Success is a long term goal. Not a short term one. The secret to self-control is to practice it daily. Each time you do, it will just get easier.

Forgiveness Is Grace

We all make mistakes. When learning self-control or in other matters. So give yourself a little grace. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Don’t let it get to you and don’t give up. The key is to keep moving forward. This is a life long skill. It’s something you take a bit of time to do every day. But you can do it.

And if you find you need some additional help call us. We’re here to help. Until next time, enjoy your week and take care.

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