Whether you’re trying to lose weight, quit smoking or develop better business practices, a lack of self-control can be a serious issue for people and there have been many articles written on the subject. A recent Forbes article titled “How successful people stay productive and in control,” is an example of one that fell short. It immediately violates one of the premises of self-control, which is to limit your focus to only the essential information. Contributor Travis Bradberry lists 12 tips on how to stay in control. Bradberry’s approach is counterproductive, because what he’s actually doing is scattering attention and ultimately, reducing self-control. The article also mixes up the negative with the positive by combining tips for what you should and shouldn’t do. Anyone familiar with neuroscience research on repetition will know that talking about what NOT to do actually reinforces doing the undesirable behaviors. A better way to think about self-control is to build a deeper, more sustainable, underlying structure that makes self-control easier in virtually all circumstances. This infrastructure consists of just a few component parts:
- 1. Define a compelling purpose or social good for whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. This will give your life meaning and discipline.
- 2. Develop a clear path to mastery toward achieving that purpose. A clear path to mastery will allow you to see that there is a means for success and all you need to do is continue to work at it in order to achieve your goals.
- 3. Work with friends, colleagues and significant others to create an environment that supports your focus on purpose and mastery.