I’m going to start this one off by sharing a study that shook the science community. The study was the marshmallow test done by Walter Mischel, and it was very simple in design. You put a kid alone in a room for several minutes with a marshmallow in front of him, and tell them that if they don’t eat it they will be given a second marshmallow for cooperating. As you’d expect, not many children lasted, but the significant finding was that kids who were able to resist the temptation for 7 minutes in the experiment went on to be higher achievers in their youth and beyond. It’s crazy to think about, I know, but the findings have been confirmed in follow up studies!
Although we aren’t kids hungry for a marshmallow in a science experiment, the core message remains true. Having the mental toughness to practice self-control generates results in life!
Although self-control can be put into practice by sticking to habits or being consistent in your behavior, this experiment focuses more on having will-power and refraining from something.
There are a few good ways to work on your self-control. First, is to set limits on a certain behavior you want to reduce. By creating a new expectation ahead of time, you will be more cognizant of your actions in the moment, and will be more likely to withhold. Second, is accountability. Having someone or something to answer to is very influential in your behavior. To generate accountability, you can create written or verbal affirmations, or set a goal that reflects what you are actively trying to limit.