Today we are going to continue on our journey of making success effortless by diving into self-control and how to harness this useful trait to help you on your journey to goal achievement.
Psychology Today defines this tool as, “…the ability to subdue our impulses in order to achieve longer-term goals.” Reverting to old and familiar routines takes less energy and focus, which is why so many of us slip back into our ‘bad’ habits – or those actions which do not take us closer to our goals.
It’s easy to start a new routine and work towards our goals when we are excited, motivated and focused on our ultimate outcome. For most, this initial momentum will last until somewhere around day 12. Then our old habits gradually start to intrude and a ‘slipper slope’ to our old selves is typically the end result. This Effortless Success series provides the tools and techniques to stay the course.
Review any steps you may have missed, links below, and then let’s get started!
Effortless Success Step 1 is all about the importance of having a clear vision of where you want to go and who you want to be.
Effortless Success Step 2 highlights the importance of focus and keeping your eye on the prize.
Effortless Success Step 3 provides tips and ideas to keep yourself mentally and physically feeling good – a precursor to taking action towards your goals and ultimate vision.
Effortless Success Step 4 is a simple technique to feel better mentally, and therefore physically, which makes it easier to stay motivated and take action.
Lack of sleep, physical and mental tiredness, stress, hunger, lack of focus, and overwhelm are a few states which will erode your self-control. The warning signs that you are getting close to tossing your goal out and making a poor choice are: agitation, irritability, lack of patience, difficulty concentrating, and negative thoughts.
Six ways to keep your self control strong working in your favor, effortlessly
Remove temptations. You know your daily habits that are not serving you in accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. If you want to save more money, for example, going to Starbucks every morning may be one of the things you have decided to cut back on. You could remove this temptation by taking a different route to the office, for example. As you are working towards your goal, continually watch for, and address, the situations which test your self-control. What can you do to remove that cue and replace it with a cue that benefits you? Make this an on-going continual improvement process. When you reflect on a day or action which does not serve you, make note of the trigger, if there was any way to remove that from your environment, and/or plan on a better future action.
Use visualization. Visualize how you will respond appropriately (in accordance with your goals and new habits you are developing) in challenging situations. If you have decided to eat smaller portions, visualize yourself asking the waiter for a to-go container as he delivers your meal, for example.
Take preventative measures. Eat healthfully, get some exercise and be sure to get enough sleep. Know the warning signs (above) and take preventative action – eat, rest, breathe, meditate. Know the routines or habits that do not serve you. If you are working towards a promotion at work and know that a high sugar pick-me-up makes you sluggish or irritable later – then replace that food choice with something that does not negatively impact your mood or energy level.
Clear the clutter. Clutter is a known stressor, cleaning up will reduce your stress and help you stay positive and motivated to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be. Clear the clutter from your physical environment – your office, your home, your electronic devices. Clear the clutter mentally, be decisive, use the power of your mind and let go of past hurts.
Practice. Know that the more you practice your beneficial habits, the stronger they will become – requiring less mental energy and self-control. Know that the less you practice your negative habits, the weaker they will become – also requiring less mental energy and self-control to avoid. Focus on the new habit or action you want to take.
Your challenge for today is to take action. Do some self-reflection and write down 3 things that have caused you to do something not inline with your goals in the past. And then write down 3 things you will do going forward to remove the temptation going forward. Put this note with your goas. If you haven't written your goal down on paper yet, do that now.
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Linda Short of Elle Short Coaching is a Goal Achievement Coach, certified health and life coach specializing in goal achievement. As a goal achievement coach, I help people struggling with where they are to create their own life story and take action toward their life vision. So that they can get unstuck, find joy in each and every day, and live their best life.