Overall, I would consider myself a fairly controlled person. Yet when it comes to men, food, and social drinking – sayonara! As much fun as it might be at the time, the regret of: “Man, I told myself I would be in control this time” that comes later is not a good feeling.
Saying you want one thing and doing the complete opposite can create a lot of unnecessary chaos in life.
Not only does being impulsive throw off our equilibrium, but it also takes away from our broader personal goals.
When it comes down to avoiding what's good for us or making decisions we will regret later, it’s a matter of exercising self control and learning how to BUILD that muscle.
Yet, this tends to be easier said than done and requires a conscious, mindful effort.
Here are 5 simple ways to practice more self control during the moments that tempt you most. Pick at least 2 you can use right now, practice them for 7 days, and see what a difference it makes!
1. Be Honest About Your Temptations
The first step is being truthful with yourself about what your temptations are, so you know how to manage them in the future.
What situations, without fail, always leave you saying, “I wish I didn’t do that”?
For example, if you know you can’t have chips in the house without finishing the entire bag upon opening them, deciding not to buy them in the first place is a good starting point. Recognizing the temptations lets you help prevent them before you've gone too deep.
2. Quit Cold Turkey
While we want to believe we are strong enough to overcome temptation when faced with it (or at least try to), avoiding the temptation altogether is the only guarantee for doing so.
Living in extremes can require quitting in extremes.
Try a 30-day alcohol free month, social media detox challenge, or cut off communication from a toxic relationship.
3. Recognize Your Long-Term Goals & Tie the Present Moment to Them
When avoiding your temptation triggers may not be an option, consider your long-term goals before engaging in a potential regretful activity.
Living for short-term gratification can seem harmless, but has the ability to negatively impact your aspirations down the line.
Make sure that a Wednesday night Happy Hour is really worth the lost productivity at work the next day!
4. Get an Accountability Partner
Having an accountability partner (or group) is a great way to stay on track for any goal, and becoming more self-disciplined is no exception.
It’s always easier to assess a situation and see clearly when you’re not directly in it.
So the next time you're feeling tempted, call a friend for encouragement and reminders to help you choose positively, wisely and in alignment with your goal/s.
5. Listen to & Trust the “Good” Shoulder Angel
We all have the little voice that tells us not to do something, and the one that tells us to do it anyway.
Impulsiveness is often engaging in something that goes against our better judgment, and against our values.
So the next time you feel conflicted, stop and make a deliberate choice to do the opposite of what you might want to do. Over time, this will become second nature.
Ultimately, every choice in life has a consequence. It is rewarding to engage in decisions that bring you closer to the person you want to be (the person you really are deep down!).
After awhile, you'll be able to appreciate the peace which comes from aligning what you say you want with your actions. You will live from a place of equilibrium.