Tips for Self Control

psychpost | 4/29/2011 11:44:00 AM

The term self control usually refers to the tendency to act in our own best interests. Self control involves a choice and the outcomes should be reinforcing. For example: a smoker choosing to going through withdrawal now or having major illness later. Although it is clear that quitting now and going through withdrawal is the better option, it is very difficult for a smoker
to quit smoking. I will be using this example throughout the entire discussion.

The purpose of this post is to inform you of ways to improve your Self Control and how to help yourself make better decisions.

Techniques & Practices to Improving Self Control:

-Physical Restraint:

To do something that physically prevents the behavior. An example would be for a smoker to not carry lighters around or to leave their cigarettes at home or to toss them in the trash. These things are very easy to do and can be very effective. Often times physical restraint is only temporary.

To avoid undesirable behaviors by distancing ourselves for situations in which that behavior will occur. An example would be for a smoker to visit more non-smoking areas or to avoid smoking friends. A combination of physical restraint and distancing can be a great way to lower the occurrence of an undesirable behavior.

Inform others of your goal:
The people around us will often behave in ways that will help or hinder our goals. By informing others of our goals we can affect their behavior in ways that affect our behavior. For example after a smoker informs
others that (s)he wants to stop smoking, the nonsmoking friends begin to spend more time with them and the smoking friends will often admire/praise their efforts.

When facing temptation an individual can engage in an activity that will distract themselves. Recommended distractions would include: exercising or watching a film. Make sure that the activity is very engaging, enough so you don't think about your undesirable behavior. This is a technique that I often turn to when I am trying to control my behaviors.

Monitoring Behavior
Keeping track of the frequency and magnitude of our undesired behaviors will often lower their occurrence. When we see a low frequency we are positively reinforced and when we see a high frequency we are also being positively reinforced.


Using a combination of these techniques will surely help you to exercise your Self Control. A tip not mentioned above for smokers is: purchase a pack of cigarettes that you find disgusting/repulsive. This will cause a slight punishment whenever you choose to smoke.

Also if you are having a difficult time getting rid of an undesirable behavior, it's okay, it takes time to fully extinguish a behavior.



81 responses to "Tips for Self Control"

  1. i think this is really helpful, especially for smokers to quit

  2. thanks i will have to have a couple of my friends who need to quit read this

  3. here the government puts disgusting ads in every cigarette pack

  4. I must translate it to my father, he smokes too much.

  5. my friends could do with this haha...


  6. I smoke too much, thanks for the advice

  7. nice, nice.

  8. Good post, I remember some of these points from my psych classes back in the day.~

  9. my friend just beasted his habbit kicking of cigarettes, just went cold turkey and BEASTED

  10. Damn you second hand smoking!!.~

  11. I have a couple of friend who definately need to see this, thanks.( my MC texture pack is shortstuf7's)

  12. SMOKE!

  13. Does this work with food as well?

  14. Millions of americans could take this blog and put it to good use, me included...

  15. This should help some people I know that smoke. Thanks!

  16. Very informative.. How do I quit the interwebs, though? XD

  17. stop paying for service lol

  18. A great read, thanks for posting

  19. very interesting, thanks for posting

  20. I need self control against sugar and chocolate

  21. thank god im not smoking

  22. good tip

  23. friends need this!

  24. i hate this because its true~

  25. These are really helpful tips, but I'm glad I don't need them lol

  26. I'm going to try these. I need them.

  27. good thing i dont need these tips but they are great

  28. luckily i don't smoke...still, great "guide"

  29. Hopefully, I'll be able to help my father with this.

  30. Wow, really neat article. I liked it.

  31. Nice read, I can definitely think of a couple of family members who should read this

  32. Very helpful tips, maybe I'll show this to my girlfriend and she can finally quit.

  33. I've heard the distraction one before. Something about an experiment to see which children could hold out the longest without eating a piece of candy while unsupervised.

  34. For the punishment, I almost thought that you were going to include something that would make them way sicker. I always heard with punishment, as far as conditioning is concerned, punish fully the first time, otherwise you might just tolerate the negative reinforcer and, actually, stop disliking it.

  35. self control is something everyone should learn. It helps kill laziness too.

  36. Nice read thanks you

  37. I'm gonna have to work on that haha.

  38. I like the distracting portion of this. I only had 2 cigarettes yesterday cos I was constantly having fun, and I didnt have time to smoke.

  39. i really agree on the telling others about your goal, its effective probably because it plays off human competition in a way~

  40. Very helpful.

  41. Imma use this line well know to anyone who played Civilization.

    "Just one more turn!"

  42. This will surely help me, thanks!

  43. My dad has been trying to stop for the longest time now, i'll have to show him this page :) thanks!~

  44. Thank you very much for the article. Will be showing this article to my heavy, HEAVY smoker friends.

  45. I'll tell some of my smoking friends about your article! Follow'd!

  46. Nice post! Good thing I'm not addicted to anything
    *logs into WoW*

  47. All about will ;)

  48. those are cool, and useful =D
    Even though i do not smoke or anything like that...

  49. Great post

  50. nice tips, i have 2 months whitout smoke

  51. question: do you have a background in ABA? a lot of what you discuss is very behavioral which is refreshing :)

    Tracking behaviors and having a contingency manager and clear immediate consequences (as opposed to delayed way in the future) is definitely the way to go!

    Great post!

  52. Great tips man ! I'll come back to read more.

  53. But what will distract me form my distraction?

    Like the internet.

  54. Ive started and quite smoking multiple times. Only time I would start is if I was at a party and the girl I was hitting on smoked. Never got urges.

  55. i used this today great blog keep it up

  56. i tried to quit cigarettes 3 times and now i just don't give a damn i guess. i just couldn't quit.
    it's way harder than i though.

  57. Thank you for tips and good advices my friend! I am glad.

  58. Just showed my friend the advice, they said it was very helpful

  59. thanks for these great tips!!

  60. Saving liiiiives. Gonna share this with my mates, thanks.

  61. incredible, my mom thanks you !

  62. To quit, I had to bite on that pen like eraser forever!

  63. All these things are transferrable to other goals :D

  64. i have quit smoking for 10 years, then i started again (stress etc..) quit again and few months later.. here i am! but i will quit again!

  65. My friend is looking to quit smoking for some time now. I'll recommend this article.

  66. reminds me of when i used to be a psych major! i will use these tips for other areas of my life~

  67. I haven't had a smoke since last weekend, still no cravings.

  68. Very detailed i have a revision problem xD

  69. Good post really enjoyed the read not a smoker but definitely useful in other ways.

  70. i just quit about 2 months ago. it was really hard and i still get urges all the time. but i know im done smoking cigarettes for the rest of my life

  71. I never smoke so im good :) Nice advice tho!

  72. I have never smoked because everyone who smokes tells you to not start.

  73. Trying to quit is really difficult.

  74. Have you heard of negative reenforcement?
    My friend stopped smoking by wearing a rubber band on her arm Every time she thought about smoking, she popped herself.

  75. great post. i have never been a smoker though, so i dont know the difficulty

  76. great post, a lot of people can learn from this

  77. I'm a smoker, wanna stop, tryed often, thx for those tricks, im gonna see what I can do

  78. I quit smoking this week!

  79. I quit smoking a few months ago after 3 years. It really is about self control and believing you can do it. Awesome read!

  80. Very informative. I smoke occasionally but thankfully I am in no way addicted.

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