“Two decades of research have now discredited the popular wisdom that people can freely control their behaviors, suppress their impulses, conquer their temptations, or overcome their vices if only they put their mind to it, try harder, and persist.”
— Isabelle Bauer and Roy Baumeister, pre-eminent scholars of self regulation

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.