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:
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.
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.
PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10604632@N02/