Self-control is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals. Research has shown that possessing self-control can be important for health and well-being. Common goals such as losing weight, exercising regularly, eating healthy, not procrastinating, giving up bad habits, and saving money are just a few worthwhile ambitions that people believe require self-control.
People often use a variety of terms for self-control, including discipline, determination, grit, willpower, and fortitude.
Psychologists typically define self-control as:
- The ability to control behaviors in order to avoid temptations and to achieve goals
- The ability to delay gratification and resist unwanted behaviors or urges
- A limited resource that can be depleted
How important is self-control in your day-to-day life? One 2011 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 27 percent of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, earn a college degree, or quit smoking, it is easy to believe that achieving a goal is simply a matter of controlling your behaviors. The majority of people surveyed believe that self-control can be both learned and strengthened. Researchers have also identified a number of different factors and strategies that can help people improve their self-control.
In one experiment, students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
The benefits of self-control are not limited to academic performance. One long-term health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
The ability to delay gratification, or to wait to get what you want, is an important part of self-control. People are often able to control their behavior by delaying the gratification of their urges. For instance, a person following a specific diet might try to avoid the temptations of indulging in unhealthy foods. This individual delays their gratification and waits until they are able to enjoy an occasional treat.
Delaying gratification involves putting off short-term desires in favor of long-term rewards. Researchers have found that the ability to delay gratification is important not only for attaining goals but also plays an important part in well-being and overall success in life.
For more information you can visit https://www.verywellmind.com/psychology-of-self-control-4177125