1 – Improve your ability to save money, do the right thing and be less violent in life.
Self control is one of the biggest dividing factors between having a happy life or a more “fulfilling” experience and being one of the “also rans'” in life.
What good is self-control? We incorporated a new measure of individual differences in self-control into two large investigations of a broad spectrum of behaviors. The new scale showed good internal consistency and retest reliability. Higher scores on self-control correlated with a higher grade point average, better adjustment (fewer reports of psychopathology, higher self-esteem), less binge eating and alcohol abuse, better relationships and interpersonal skills, secure attachment, and more optimal emotional responses. Tests for curvilinearity failed to indicate any drawbacks of so-called overcontrol, and the positive effects remained after controlling for social desirability. Low self-control is thus a significant risk factor for a broad range of personal and interpersonal problems. Tangney et al 2003 – Journal of Personality
The good news is that self control can be exercised and strengthend. The area of the brain involved in self control is located in the frontal lobe. The neural pathways that make up these locations can be strengthed by regular use. The simple act of controlling or denying your own urges helps to strengthen up the connections/cells that make up the regions of the brain involved in self control and concequently you become better at controlling yourself.
Functional imaging of the brain has shown that self-control is correlated with an area in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), a part of the frontal lobe. This area is distinct from those involved in generating intentional actions, attention to intentions, or select between alternatives. This control occurs through the top-down inhibition of premotor cortex. wikipedia 2013
Regime and diet are both excellent tools to help you achieve this goal, if you are on a diet that restricts carbohydrate intake you must be cogniscient of this fact all day long. If you are practising 6 days on with a cheat day at the end of the week you must exercise you self control for 74% of the week.
Also you are required to mentally discipline yourself to engage with your programme of physical exercise for the agreed amount of sessions and also have the discipline and control to put in the physical effort to bear the fruits of your labour.
Diet and exercise might be one of the most effective tools to learn self control you have at your exposure.
2 – Goal Setting
Every self help book your ever likely to read will have this as one of it’s central tenants. It will preach the virtues of having a “big picture” and planning out the ways you are going to fulfil your master plans in life. However getting off the ground with your actual real life goals can be daunting for a lot of folk as there can be real life with tangiable consequences both financial and social for failure.
In training and diet the only person who pays for failure is you. Your own lack of progress in the gym and your own lack of progress with your weight/fat loss goals are the only things that suffer. However the gains of success for you both physically and mentally far outstrip the cost of failure.
Diet and exercise isn’t a zero sum game, almost all actors win, if you fail to meet your goals you gain experience of methods and attitudes that don’t work for you but if you succeed you gain knowledge of interventions that are successful for you as a person but you also reap the physical and mental rewards it’s a win win situation. The only cost is time.
Once you have achieved some of your fitness or diet goals you can better appreciate the time commitment, attrition, success and failure that goes hand in hand with achieving any goal in life worth worrying about.
You get to practice the self control and self-determination it takes to overcome obstacles in the real world. You get more experience and real world skill acquisition than any self help book or course will ever confer to you and all you have to do is get off your ass and try.
3 – Self confidence
Once you have been at the whole diet and exercise gig for a while some things will start to dawn on most people…
- The best you can do in any situation is control the variables you have control over and do it to the best of your ability.
- Bad results or situations are often an opportunity to learn a lesson and to accept that trying new things is part and parcel to success.
- You have much more control over things like your body image and health than you probably ever even deemed possible.
- Time, consistency and quality of effort are what count at the end of the day.
- There are not short cuts.
Cheesy as it might sound going through these experiences can have a remarkable effect on your opinion of yourself as a person and your ability to stand up and be counted.
Once you realise that it is YOU who is in fact responsible and take control of the things in life you want to improve the world is a better place.