Functioning and succeeding in any aspect of life requires exertion of self-control over your natural biological and emotional tendencies. Failures of self-regulation underlie many individual and societal ills, including self-defeating behaviors, under-achievement, substance abuse, obesity, interpersonal conflict, and verbal or physical violence
Fortunately, over the past two decades a great deal of neuroscientific and behavioral research has yielded an understanding of self-regulation mechanisms and willpower, leading to interventions that can bolster your self-control. For example, many studies confirm the “limited resource” theory of self-regulation: at a given time you carry a reserve of only so much willpower. When it’s depleted, your self-control is weak or non-existent. This discovery leads to empowering strategies such as consciously avoiding activities that will require self-control shortly after periods when you exert substantial energy on focus, working memory, or self-regulation. Blood glucose levels have repeatedly been found to affect your willpower reservoir, so maintaining adequate sugar levels can help you restore your self-control resources.
You can also build your metaphoric self-control muscles by exercising them on a regular basis. This can be as simple as frequently using your non-dominant hand or attending to good posture.
Partners in Thought® support can provide you with various tools to improve your control over your behaviors and emotions as well as to build your willpower. A good starting place is the Partners in Thought® interactive workshop, Beyond Willpower: Tools for Self-Regulation, Self-Control, and Habit Modification.