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How to improve your poor self-control?

“Self-control is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviour in the face of temptations and impulses.”
Individuals with low self-control tend to be impulsive, insensitive towards others, risk takers and short-sighted. The success we achieve in our relationships and careers is directly related with our self-control.
There’s an interesting experiment done by Walter Mischel on children which supports the relationship between self-control and individual’s success.

The Mischel Experiment [1]

In the 1960s, Walter Mischel tested four-year-old children for self-control in “The Marshmallow Test”: The children were each given a marshmallow and told that they can eat it anytime they want. But if they waited 15 minutes, they would receive another marshmallow.
Follow up studies showed that the results were well verified with these children’s success levels in later life. It was found that children who showed less self-control by taking the single marshmallow, were more likely to develop problems in their life later.


A strategy used in the marshmallow test was the focus on “hot” and “cool” features of an object. The children were guided to think about the marshmallow’s “cool features” such as its shape and texture, possibly comparing it to a cotton ball or a cloud. The “hot features” of the marshmallow would be its sweet, sticky taste. These hot features made more difficult to delay gratification. By focusing on the cool features, the mind diverts from the appealing aspects of the marshmallow, and self-control is more achievable.
We often let the control of our lives get into other people’s hands. We can incorporate few good habits in our daily life to change it.

Also read: https://www.aureolls.com/why-is-developing-self-discipline-to-study-difficult/

6 things to improve self-control:

1- We should be responsible for all of our failures as well as successes.

2- We should stop blaming others, if anything doesn’t go according to our plan.

3- One should never get drifted by the “peer pressure”. You’ve to learn to say No.

4- You should manage your own finances. You should stop asking for money from your parents or friends.

5- Try to focus on ideas about “generating money” than “spending money.”

6- We need to practice self-discipline. You will never always be motivated. You have to be disciplined, to get the things done.


So, conclusively we can say that the best way to delay gratification is by diverting our thoughts. Instead of giving into instant gratification, if we focus on long term harmful effects of such activities (like eating junk food, watching explicit content on the internet, staying up late etc), we could empower our self-control and retort temptations.

[1] Stanford Marshmallow_Experiment – Wikipedia