How to Improve Your Self-Control: 13 Simple Tips To Help You Control Yourself

Self-control is the ability to control yourself in the face of temptation. It’s crucial for any successful person, and it can be developed with practice.

The first step is understanding how willpower works and what leads to its depletion. The next steps are analyzing your goals and making a plan to help you achieve them while also practicing self-restraint when you need to resist temptations.

Self-control is an instinct for all people, but it seems to vary from person to person. Some people seem to be masters at managing their impulses and taking their time, and others struggle and fail. This article will show you how to improve your self-control and take control of your life.

What is self-control?

Self-control is a type of cognitive control that allows us to regulate our emotions and behaviors. It is also the ability to exert control over our behavior.

For example, we can inhibit the impulsive action of reaching for a cookie. We can say no to an invitation and refrain from making a snap decision, which would lead us to regret it later.

This process of self-control plays an important role in everyday life and plays a crucial role in social functioning as well.

Is self-control important for success?

The answer to this question is YES.

Self-control is an important part of success because it helps you achieve your goals and avoid temptations that lead to bad decisions.

Some ways self-control can help you are:

• It helps you manage your emotions, which will allow you to make better decisions in times of stress or excitement.

• It prevents the addictive tendencies that lead to drug abuse, eating disorders, and other destructive behaviors.

• It can also help people control their spending habits by setting aside money for long-term savings instead of blowing it all on unnecessary purchases.

• The consistent use of self-control can help you lead a healthy life and achieve your goals.

This is why it’s important to learn how to improve your control, take action, and follow through with what works for you.

How to Improve Your Self-Control

Self-control is a skill that can be improved by having a clear and realistic plan for achieving your goals. It’s the act of managing emotions, thoughts, and actions in order to maintain self-discipline. There are many ways that you can improve your self-control, but here are a few of the most effective techniques.

01. Think before you act

Many of us have heard the phrase, “think before you act.” We know it means to take a moment to assess our actions and evaluate their consequences. And yet, despite this common knowledge, we often fail to think before we act. If only we could get ourselves to pause for a second or two before moving on with our lives, things would be so much easier.

But as we all know, our mind works incredibly quickly, and it can be hard to make decisions when you’re in a hurry. So how do you force yourself to think before acting?

The first step involves breaking those constant cycles of action by freezing time for 10 or 15 seconds. 

No matter where life takes you – home from work, lying on the couch watching television, fidgeting at your desk – take that moment to stop and ask yourself, “Is this really what I want? Am I being logical with my choices today?” And above all else: “What’s going through my head right now? What do I want to feel?” 

Then, when you start moving again, use the pause in motion as a beacon to stop. Take control over your schedule by scheduling intentional moments of solitude or quiet time for reflection.

02. Self-discipline and willpower

Even if you are disciplined in some aspects of your life, you might still have trouble controlling yourself. It’s hard to be responsible for everything that happens around you when you’re driven by feelings.

To help control your impulses and avoid regretting decisions later, the best thing is to use self-discipline. Discipline is the ability to do what you know is right, even when you don’t feel like it. We’re not only able to be fully responsible for our own actions but are better at making good decisions because of it.

Sometimes, discipline can be hard. You might want something bad for your health or feel really emotional about something and therefore make a poor decision because of it, but stay strong! Opposites attract in the sense that all things are important.

Disciplining yourself will give you a better executive ability to make rational decisions when they come up (you won’t get caught off guard by urges).

When used well, our willpower powers us even when we don’t believe ourselves capable of doing so. Leading a healthy life means making good choices, and self-discipline is one of the best ways to achieve this.

The second step is to use your willpower-power in a proactive way. Being proactive means setting up healthy routines and prioritizing activities over time so that you get strong discipline from the future instead of resisting temptations because of past mistakes.

Being proactive means changing the habit of giving in to your impulses and starting a healthier lifestyle so you can feel better about yourself. To improve self-discipline, think long-term. Think that improving willpower is not near-term goals or short-term victories, but something that happens every day over time with good habits formed over millennia.

Say to yourself: “I will always occasionally eat unhealthy food” “No one forbids me from eating sugar.” Start by being mindful of smaller things that are important for you instead of being reckless all the time ( ex: telling yourself you’ll only eat lunch at a certain place).

Begin with small steps that work up to bigger goals, and never give in to temptations. This way of being is good not just for improving willpower but your whole life – making it more purposeful and long-term living!

03. Motivation and habits

A human brain is a powerful machine. But it’s also one that can be easily fooled. We all have days when we are lazy, unmotivated, and lacking in self-control. And other days where we are motivated, energized, and are more controlled.

The best way to improve your willpower is not by eliminating all temptations instantly but by beginning small and focusing on better habits. First of all, you need a plan for appropriate behaviors.

These can be both one-time “rewards” that have positive effects in the present moment (like walking through red lights) or long-term rewards that are vital for permanent healthy change over time (Playing video games at midnight instead of sleeping isn’t healthy).

The temptation may come after certain conditions go into action – it could be when your phone starts buzzing with new notifications (like when I’m at work on an important call), or temptation could come unexpectedly.

So, the best way to conquer any challenge is not by trying to erase it immediately but instead by simply incorporating the word “NO!” into your daily mindset of making decisions and putting yourself first for healthier changes over time. Your willpower will improve with proper motivation efforts for long-term goals for better habits, combined with short-term rewards.

Repeating this process every day until you reach each goal becomes automatic if practiced correctly – controlled actions performed perfectly under conditions strategically designed to improve willpower renewal.

Always have a plan for specific self-control, either one-time rewards or for everyday plans. The first step should be deciding the effective long-term strategies that you will eventually find easier to incorporate into your daily routine.

Decide which strategy would give better results to stay focused on solutions, rather than to preoccupy yourself with what is lacking at this momentary point of weakness (being caught off guard by temptation). 

It’s important what motivates you and the action steps taken combined with progress reports given regularly to make these strategies more efficient. Understanding the rules of willpower will take power away from bad habits and optimize them under higher levels for better results.

04. Focus on one goal at a time

The study showed that people who use the strategy to improve self-control are more likely to be successful. The researchers found that those who focused on a single goal at a time were more likely to choose a course of action that would lead to success.

The study recommends breaking down goals into smaller components. This way, you can track your progress towards the longer-term goal more easily and are less prone to focus on trivial distractions along with it.

That way, you are less likely to fall into habits that lead to short-term gains but often do not create long-lasting results. This is why winners often pick a tougher but more real competition and then take it one step at a time.

This is achieved by always prioritizing and asking oneself, “What’s the next right thing to do?” or “what’s the plan for tomorrow? In many cases, people have a difficult time making tough choices between alternatives. In these situations, it can be helpful to focus on different wants to optimize your willpower towards long-term objectives. 

Creating hard targets enables you to break down your goals into smaller steps so that each one forces you to take small risks in exchange for quick rewards according, giving way over control because it has already been broken down into less dramatic pieces, which often generate no emotional response to and usually leads to much lower levels of resistance.

It’s important not to focus on any single goal for too long, as constant attention can break down the willpower required over time, even though one concentrates on a particular route or improvements of skills that are quite new.

Therefore experimenting with different types of goals is really helpful for maintaining your willingness amidst progress towards each passing milestone.

When giving ourselves specific tasks, it’s definitely important to keep in mind deadlines because this might make us work faster rather than later but still remember they should wait until all steps have been accomplished, although sometimes impulsive acts or immediate rewards lead to quicker results.

05. Track progress on your goal regularly

When you set a goal, you’re thinking about what you want to accomplish. But if you don’t track your progress regularly, it becomes very hard to see how far along you are towards achieving that goal.

For example, if you want to lose weight, it’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” You need to know exactly how much weight you want to lose and then work out how much time it will take to lose that amount of weight.

When you are tracking your progress, it’s not always easy to see how far you are in reaching your goals. However, we tend to miss opportunities when we don’t know what our goals are. For instance, you might not realize that some profits were piling up until they were already lost.

To make it easier, write down all of your goals on a chart and divide them into categories. For example, you can put them next to your bed, look at them every morning, and make plans for the following day.

This way, the goal becomes very tangible; if we miss a deadline or fall short of achieving our goals, we can still see where we went wrong! Going even further with this system is like putting maps in an app on your phone (programs such as Evernote allow us to do just that).

You’ll be able to view all areas created according to these “maps,” which will enable you to track progress/milestones towards one particular goal visually.

06. Have a backup plan in place

Planning is key, but this often goes right out the window when we’re making changes to our goals and plans, whether it’s quitting smoking or starting a business. In fact, planning can be counterproductive because you end up not doing what works best for your situation.

Therefore having a “plan B” that will kick into action if your initial plan fails should always be on hand — just in case things go south before they actually do!

Don’t worry too much about failure, though, as long as you have something worked up in advance, so at the very least, the plan is set out, and you’re aware of your shortfalls.

One thing we all love, though with change, is that it’s usually always possible to make improvements. Lastly, for your goals to be set out optimally and effectively, you need a ‘Big picture’ plan.

07. Pay attention to your thoughts

We all know that controlling our thoughts and feelings can help us to handle difficult situations better. But we often struggle with focusing on what we should be doing instead of what we are doing. It’s not easy to keep ourselves on track, especially when it comes to having discipline.

Your thoughts are just that, every thought you have every second of the day pings away in your mind. It can be hard to focus on positive things while having negative ones tossed at us. Hone in your ability to see all challenges as learning opportunities so you can get more control over life’s ups and downs!

Changing your life is never easy, but it requires constant change to succeed. Being disciplined when you want to make changes will lead you down the right path. You can do this by paying close attention when things are not going like planned and making adjustments mid-way through — all of which gives yourself more room for mistakes!

Negotiate with yourself every day about even small goals if necessary so that you don’t feel discouraged or overwhelmed. Even if you can’t always feel safe, try to stay as close as possible. Sometimes the easiest way out is to transform those feelings into action that will lead you towards your long-term goals or passion.

08. Think about your feelings, but not too much

Our feelings are always there for us, but sometimes our emotions can be very strong. As humans, we all experience things ranging from sadness to anger and other strong emotions that just spur on change in an instant! At times it would do wonders to take a step back so you can see what’s really going on without being overwhelmed.

Often, we may operate on emotions without knowing what it is that’s making us feel something. It could be negative feelings if they feel hurt, need attention, sadness, or are just overwhelmed! These emotions can obstruct your progress, and if you continue to feel that way, it won’t matter how hard you try because it’s all too difficult.

Take a second and think about if the feeling is really worth it based on what you’re trying to achieve. It’s never easy, but sometimes thinking outside of yourself will give you a clearer understanding and help guide decisions!

09. Find activities that can replace bad habits

Sometimes as humans, we can become easily distracted and feel like nothing is working out as planned. We may fall into bad habits such as not following through on work tasks or wasting our time online.

If this happens, don’t be afraid to recognize that you’ve fallen into a bad habit and find an alternative that will help you change course quickly and avoid feelings of sadness!

You can consider a few things when finding an alternative if nothing else is giving it to you right. Try listing down activities that can replace your habit, looking for hobbies, or even talking with friends who may give some alternatives!

Sometimes the feeling of taking action and trying out something new will help change negative patterns or habits in the long run, which equates back into more fulfillment!

Going for a run or playing sports can help develop your interests and make you feel better if you find something enjoyable, great! If not, re-evaluate your interests and hobbies to see if anything will fit what makes you feel happier! There are so many things out there with endless possibilities.

Other ways of taking action from the book include journaling about productivity habits, writing down small goals for yourself each day regardless of measurable outcomes, or practicing affirmations.

All these alternative activities contribute towards mentally focusing on success instead of letting negative thoughts take over!

You can also think outside your fears by enjoying a few books regarding self-help which may prove helpful in understanding depression better. It’s best to know how you work so that next time you can do something proactive or even ask for help when need be.

10. Keep your promises

Self-control is a key aspect of healthy relationships. If you have issues with self-control, it may be holding you back from being happy in your relationship. This doesn’t mean you should give up: comfort is a critical ingredient in any healthy relationship, and it’s possible to develop better habits and abilities.

Self-control isn’t easy at times, but staying committed to your promises can build trust with someone else. It takes effort not to break old patterns of thinking about the past, thus leading yourself into unhealthy habits where you have missed being happy.

When you keep your promises, it helps to build trust. If someone is hurtful or seems to not care about you, it’s likely because they are very shy.

Keep your promise of being faithful despite all the flaws in yourself and others. People can see your sincerity and honesty through the connection that builds trust. If someone lacks trust, then it can take a long time to gain that.

If you keep your promise and remain faithful even after failing, they will eventually follow suit since there is a tangible result which you both agreed upon beforehand.

11. Do meditation

Meditation, a spiritual practice that involves focusing the mind on a single thought or sound for a period of time, is being used by top athletes to help them better control their emotions and perform better in their sports.

While it may not be a common practice amongst the general population, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and there are several benefits associated with meditation. One of those benefits is better concentrating on something with multiple thoughts.

Suppose you have trouble staying focused on a task every day. In that case, meditation may be for you as it helps develop more control over your mind and body, allowing you to focus without worrying about what else is going off in your head or how tired they are at the end of the day. Meditation is also very useful for focusing the mind before a big event or time of need to remain focused.

Whether you choose to meditate or not, know that if you really want to unclutter your mind and achieve inner peace, there are plenty of sought-after benefits associated with meditation.

As for those that suffer from anxiety and depression, meditation can alter the brain’s response to stress and emotions, making you calmer on a more consistent basis.

On the psychological level, meditating regularly helps build self-esteem as it shows how consistently present we are with ourselves instead of taking negative events or thought processes out on others around us.

12. Take personal responsibility for your mistakes

As a human being, you are bound to make mistakes. However, what you learn from your mistakes is far more important than how many times you have made them. If you learn from each mistake you make, you will be able to correct your behavior in the future and improve your self-control.

The more time you take to reflect upon your mistakes, the more understanding, and empathy you may develop for yourself. This will, in turn, help others learn from their own mistakes and develop self-control in dealing with life’s challenges.

That usually means fewer poor decisions that could have been avoided altogether because we made them before we were fully aware of what was going on inside our brains, even when it wasn’t directly affecting us at all times.

However, if you are aware of your mistakes but refuse to reflect on them until it’s too late or try to ignore them completely, then you will never be able to learn from your mistakes. So why not take the time each day to reflect upon what went wrong for yourself and others alike?

13. Listen to other people

When it comes to improving self-control, listening to others is often an effective strategy. This seems counterintuitive at first, but there are many benefits to this kind of approach. First of all, you’ll learn something new about yourself and your habits. This can help you see the problem in a new light.

For example, maybe you’re bad at setting limits with friends or family because you think they don’t mean it when they ask for more than you’re comfortable giving them.

However, if you hear them over and over again that they want something more than you’re comfortable with giving, then eventually, it would be easier for yourself to act on what your gut feeling is telling you.

The second benefit of listening to other people is that it forces you to practice self-control and learn how exactly they go about doing so. You will soon find out what works and what doesn’t for your situation whenever you listen with an open mind from those who have been down the same personal experience as yours before.


Self-control is a difficult thing to master, but it’s possible with practice. To improve your self-control skills, you should take the time each day to reflect upon what went wrong for yourself and others alike.

This can be done by listening to other people who have been down the same personal experience as yours before or just taking some time out of your busy schedule where you’re not doing anything else productive.


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