Why Is Self-Control So Hard? 5 Tips For Making It Easier!

Profile image Divuni Mindfulness
   Goals & Advice   
Jul 4   
Ever wondered why self-control is so hard? Here are 4 reasons why self-control may be difficult for you, and 5 pieces of advice on how to make it easier.
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Self-control is something that we're talked to about all the time about. It's a tool that many of us struggle with because of the habits we have formed not only in our personal lives, but in our professional lives too. Having self-control allows you to focus on the goals and processes at hand. But if it's so important, why is self-control so hard!

There are many reasons why self-control is hard! Some of the difficulty comes from our resistance to stress and failure, as well as pain. Along with this, there is the issue of present bias, the development challenges of creating habits, and the inevitable ability for us as humans to just try too darn hard. These are all reasons that make self-control difficult.

Understanding the reasons for the difficulty of self-control may make it seem like there's no way to solve the problem. But the truth is there are plenty of ways to do that, and that's what we're going to look at in this article.

Why Is Self-Control So Hard?

Self-control is the ability to maintain composure and strength in the face of temptation. It's also used as follow-through when dealing with your goals whether they be professional, personal, or health-related. So it's important to have a good level of self-control, but that doesn't mean it's easy in any frame of the imagination.

So we thought we'd take a look closer at some of the reasons people struggle with developing or maintaining self-control:

Resistance

Humans are naturally averse to creating any discomfort, pain, or stress on themselves. So there's a lot of resistance when it comes to developing habits and utilizing self-control when in our minds the end result will be one of these things. In other words, it's better to go with the flow than not try at all because it could make us uncomfortable for a little bit. But that discomfort is a sign of growth and not necessarily a bad thing. The trick though is overcoming our natural resistance to these feelings.

Present Bias

Though many of us live in the past or in the future, which is what causes so much anxiety when dealing with self-control, most tend to have a present bias. What that means is that we are unable to see the benefit of having this in control at the moment for our future selves. This means that unless we feel we're going to benefit from it at the moment, oftentimes self-control loses out because we can't see the long game.

Habits

Habits are hard to break and hard to create. Over the years, there have been things put in place in our minds that have created habits that directly are opposite to self-control. Often times when we're trying to break this, the habits we're trying to form by utilizing our self-control seem like a chore and this creates a feeling in our mind that it's not worth it. In other words, building self-control in relation to habits is going to be more difficult because you're having to retrain your brain to think of things in a different manner.

Trying Too Hard

Sometimes self-control is hard because what we're looking to do is just too big in the moment. Not to say those big lofty goals are not great to have, but oftentimes when we see these large goals we end up trying too hard. This leads to a cycle of events that directly challenge self-control, thereby making having it even harder. In other words, it's an endless cycle of procrastination and overexertion that depletes our self-discipline stores. It's much better to have those obstacles but break them into small cycles and then maintain a steady flow so that you can build your self-control.

How to Make It Easier! Some Advice to Help You Out

Those are the reasons why many people find self-control so hard, but just like with anything else there are methods that one can use to improve their self-control making it easier. Here is some advice that we think could really help you out:

Specific Goals

As we said, trying too hard sometimes is a self-control killer. Oftentimes we try hard because we do have those lofty goals. That means that making goals that are super-specific and broken down into smaller steps can lead to better self-control.

For instance, if you're looking to add meditation as a habit to build more self-control, you have to have the self-control to practice the meditation. Instead of setting aside 30 minutes, start with little increments of two to five minutes until you can build up to that 30 minutes. This will allow you to have more self-control and better results.

It’s Not All or Nothing!

When it comes to setting goals and building habits, oftentimes in our minds we have this all-or-nothing idea. This means that if you didn't achieve the goal to the specifications you set forth, then you didn't achieve it at all.

By celebrating smaller achievements, it's going to give you a sense of pride and accomplishment and that will continue building your self-control. The more you succeed, the more you want to continue utilizing these processes, and that like we said builds yourself discipline.

Start Small

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your self-control be. You have to start small in order to build any habits or your self-discipline. By taking baby steps, you can use the momentum of those wins and successes to make even more changes in your life that can help you create better willpower in order to achieve even more goals on your list.

Align with Your Interests

No matter how hard you try, if the goal is that you're looking to achieve doesn't align with who you are, you will never have the right amount of self-control to continue them. Not only is it important for who you are in the moment, but also in the future, that any steps you take to improve your life lead you towards things that you are passionate about. The more passion you have about something, the more self-control you're going to have, that is just fact.

You’re Not Perfect

Everything takes time and when you're trying to start something new you're never going to be perfect the first time out. So you have to learn to cut yourself some slack when you're looking to figure out how to make self-control easier for you. There are going to be slip-ups, and you can't beat yourself up because when you do, that's going to put a negative connotation on the habit or skill you're looking to create and that's going to make staying disciplined that much harder.

There are a lot of ways that you can really work to improving your self-discipline. But we do have one note that we'd like to relay to you. Self-control is important, but it is just as dangerous to have too much self-control as it is to have two little. So when cultivating these skills, make sure you allow yourself the ability to go with the flow and have a little fun every now and then.

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Final Thoughts

So as you can see, there are many reasons why self-control is so hard. But just because there are multiple reasons doesn't mean that they're insurmountable. In fact, there are many tools as we've discussed above that you can utilize to help improve your self-control. By utilizing these skills you'll be able to make having willpower so much easier and therefore finding a way to that happier healthier life simpler.

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