Why Not . . . Have Self-Control?
Wednesday September 25, 2013

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“There is no luck except where there is discipline.”
-Irish proverb

Taking one more cookie from the cookie jar, purchasing that beautiful new skirt knowing your budget will not be able to cover it, or falling for the winsome lines that offer no substance, are all examples of weak self-control.

However, on the flipside, finding the strength to say no to a second helping when you really aren’t hungry, admiring and placing the designer skirt on your wish list as encouragement to save your discretionary money or having the self-respect to refuse to be suckered by sweet words and walk away instead for someone who has proven they are worth investing your time with, help to create a life lived consciously and purposefully.

Two completely different lives can be cultivated simply by exercising habitual self-control. And the good news is that the more we practice self-control, the easier it becomes. Similar to toning our muscles, when we use them regularly, they reward us with the memory to respond as we have trained them to, and before we know it, it is engrained in our muscle memory.  But if we are erratic in our demands of our self-control, it has a much more difficult time assisting us in reaching our desired goals.

Today, consider for a moment how your life would improve if you were to exercise more self-control. Perhaps you already have it mastered when it comes to exercise – stepping outside for a walk is something that you enjoy and easy to do on a daily basis but perhaps saving money is your sticking point. While you may be living well, why not challenge yourself to practice self-control, and in so doing, your life will become even richer and more rewarding than you previously thought possible.

Here are a few benefits of incorporating self-control into your daily life:

Demonstrates Maturity

A child is in need of parents to set boundaries and rules because the child is still learning how to live, exist and remain safe. At this point in one’s life, the parent acts as the child’s self-control. But as we become adults we have the capability and opportunity to gain the proper knowledge to monitor ourselves. It is when we consciously take stock of the ramifications of our actions rather than acting spontaneously and thoughtlessly that we begin the process of self-control.

In pausing a moment before making a decision, if we realize that the decision would not be in line with our priorities and values, it is a mature adult that steps back, changes course and walks away – while on the other hand, it is the adult that has not grown-up who refuses to listen.

Time to Observe the Truth

Self-control leads to being patient, and when we are patient we gain clarity. By choosing to exercise self-control, we give ourselves time to gain knowledge and attempt something right the first time rather than attempting it again and again and again without success ultimately depleting our finite energy and creating endless frustrating and diminished self-confidence. By valuing our ability to get it right or making the right decision versus simply getting it done, the quality of our lives improve.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Whether it’s eating too much or having absolutely no control whatsoever and leading ourselves into an addiction (food, alcohol, drugs, etc), lack of self-control is one of the ingredients that leads to destroyed lives that could have easily taken a different route.  Contrarily, when we gather up the courage to face the reason we run to food, alcohol or illegal substances, we force ourselves to be honest with what is really troubling us. And when we face our demons or fears, we can them combat them and move past them.

Strengthen Financial Wealth

Financial security creates a peace of mind that paradoxically is priceless. And when we can control our spending we can control what we want to do with our lives. However, if we are unable to say no each time a shiny object catches our eye, money will forever have control, which is exactly what the advertiser was hoping for. Turn off the ads, skip past the commercials, and read a book instead. Whatever you need to do to not be tempted until your self-control is strong enough, help yourself out and do it.

Improved Work Performance

The willingness to put in the extra hours, arrive at work early or continue to educate yourself even when it’s not required is yet another example of self-control. Having the willpower to go to bed earlier to get the necessary sleep or limiting your participation in the unnecessary office gossip or banter in order to complete your task aids in feeling more productive at the end of your work day. And in time, you come to realize that the extra effort really can make all of the difference.

Self-control is something that can be nurtured and used as a tool cultivate the live we once may have only dream about, or it an opportunity we ignorantly disregard. Choose the former – strengthen your self-control muscle and notice your life begin to blossom in a myriad of ways.

“I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.”
-Pietro Aretino


10 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Have Self-Control?

  1. Inspiring! This year I profited summer break to reflect on many things, and from 26th August on, I am implementing lot of changes: helthier life, sports, nice and well organized closet (following your advices!), personal challenges and a motto: no laziness at all is admitted. Your blog is really supporting me on the path, so… thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for being a true inspiration! After reading this post I immediately put on my running shoes and went for a long, sunny run!!

  3. Thanks! I really needed this post after hearing some hard facts about getting a co-op apt in NYC. On a mission to save and stop my frivolous spending!

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