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Self-control: It starts with you

Your new year resolutions for 2019 probably included something along the lines of sticking to a fitness regime or eating healthy. Chances are, you’ve already broken them. The ability to exercise restraint in difficult situations certainly doesn’t come easy, but self-control is an essential factor for success – be it in sports, academics or work.


To illustrate the importance of self-control, a group of researchers gave children a single marshmallow, and told them they would get another one if they managed not to eat it for a certain amount of time. Those that successfully displayed self-control were found to have higher levels of academic achievements years later.


It starts with you – here are some ways you can increase your self-control:

1. Identify your weaknesses

The first step to leading a more disciplined life is to acknowledge our weak spots. It may be a tendency to binge-eat while working/studying, or laziness that tells you it’s okay to slack off for a bit during a game. Suss out the reasons behind the lack of self-control in your actions and be honest with yourself, only then will you be able to improve.

2. Get rid of temptations

Removing distractions/things preventing us from maintaining our self-control will help a great deal. It’s time to Marie Kondo your life and remove things that don’t spark joy. If you have an issue snacking too much, get rid of those potato crisps or chocolate chip cookies – if you don’t have them, you can’t eat them. Ensure not to make concessions! This will greatly compromise the effectiveness of removing any form of temptation in the first place.

3. Set goals

It’s important to know what you want to achieve at the end of the day. Visualise the ideal outcome – if you want to become a better sportsman, visualise yourself in the game and the steps you will take to ensure a better gameplay. Knowing what you are working towards will also increase your incentive to exercise self-control, and will keep you on track to success. Set goals that are specific, measureable, and attainable.