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Do you lack self control in some areas of your life?
You may be shouting YES, but that is not true. You have self control, I promise!
This article will not only prove this to you, but it will give you some good steps to start applying your self control to the areas that you want to grow or change.
So, are you ready to get started? Then keep reading!
I was talking with a friend of mine today and she was saying that she wants to quit smoking but she thinks she lacks the self discipline to do so.
Is this true? Is she lacking discipline and is that the reason she cannot quit? The answer is very boldly, NO! Self discipline is not the reason that she cannot quit smoking. It’s also not the reason that you do what you keep doing.
Lack of Self control is not the reason that you keep your old bad habits. Self control is not the reason that you procrastinate. Self control is not even the reason that you don’t succeed in life the way you want. Self control has very little to do with these or many other difficulties that you face. Want me to prove it to you?
Many times we blame lack of Self control on our inability to succeed or to break habits. This could be anything from an addiction to procrastination; however lack of self control is just the crutch/excuse we use. The truth is you have tons of self control. You have more self control then you even realize. You have enough self control to do anything you want. Want me to tell you how I know more about you in this matter then you have realized yet??? Keep reading to find out.
Self control is like any other personality trait. If you have it in one area you have it. Once you possess it then it’s yours. You would not be able to see it in yourself, if you did not have it. You know how to use it, you know what it is, and you own it. You just have to learn to apply it in other areas of your life. Is there anything that you have self discipline or self control in? The answer is yes, there are a million of them.
Right now, right here, list a few areas that you have great self control in.
Did you list some? Need some help? You might, most people do. So here are some suggestions.
Do you go to work every day, even when you don’t feel like it, when you are tired or don’t feel great? Do you keep your house clean; do your laundry, vacuum your floors? Do you brush your teeth every night before bed, even if you are really tired? Do you get things done when they need to be done at home and work? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you eat regularly? Do you feed your pets or mow the lawn every time they need it? Do you control your diet? Do you have any good habits that support you that you do every day? Do you change the oil in your car when it needs it? Do you mentally focus on what needs to be done when it’s time to get it done? Do you go to church every week? Do you read books regularly? Is there anything else you do on a regular set schedule? Do you make all of your appointments? Do you make your bed every day? If you say you will do something do you do it?
Think about these suggestions or any others that you come up with on your own. All of these exhibit self control. If you do any of them at all, or any others I did not list, then you have self control. If you do it every day then you have tons of self control. You have the total ability to control your life! If you need to go back up and re-list some areas you are strong this is a great time to do this…. Every one of these things and many more requires self discipline. Sometimes just living each day is self control. The point is you probably have many areas that you have great self control in, SO……
You have self control. Yes you! I am talking to you, and I am correct. You have self control. You possess it. It is a part of you. It is something that keeps you doing what needs to be done every day.
So the point is you have lots of self discipline, you just have not applied it to smoking, or whatever you are wanting to stop/start doing. It’s not that you are lacking discipline; it’s that you are lacking self understanding.
“Please Justin, explain, what is self understanding?”
Without self understanding you don’t know how or where to apply your self control, so you assume that it’s a control issue, when in fact it’s an application issue. You see, self understanding is where you decide what you really want in life. It’s where you chose what is important to you. It’s where you come to understand what YOU want. Self understanding starts with analyzing what you really want, and who you really are.
So, if talking about smoking, self analysis would be something like this; do you want bad skin, lung cancer, a scratchy voice? Are you looking for the social aspects of smoking, are you addicted, are you board, are you looking for a “high” from it, are you using it to numb your mind, or to “get through life” what is the reason that you are not applying discipline to your life? Once you completely self analyze, and determine the reasons you are making these choices then you can move on. You see, you can’t have self control if you really don’t know what areas of your life you need to control. So using smoking as an example again, its not that you can’t control your smoking, is that there is probably a reason you are smoking, and you are attempting to control the smoking instead of looking behind at the cause of this issue. Often when people say that they don’t have self control over an issue, they are treating the effect and not the cause. You see, smoking is the effect, the cause is found in yourself analysis.
Once you know the cause then it is much easier to apply your use your self control.
If there is something that you really want to apply your self control to then this is the time to work on it. You have a list of several things you want to apply your control to. Pick a few of them now.
Write those things down, and then below them write the reasons you are doing those things. Write every reason that comes to mind as to why you do those things.
Below is an example of what my friend said:….“I don’t think I’m addicted because I’ve quite on numerous occasions and did not really carve it or “need” it.. I think in my mind it relieves stress…. Also sometimes it’s because I’m board (in the car).. Like for some reason when I’m stressed a cig seems to help…
So when she tries to stop smoking she is treating the effect, she is not treating the stress or the boredom etc.
If this is the reason, or if it’s this along with other things, this is the first step, figuring out how/why you do it. Figure out why your struggle supports your life. What is it about your struggle that is giving you fulfillment? What is it that is giving you satisfaction? What is it that is more important to you than the alternative? I promise, there is something in it that you feel is benefitting you, or you would have stopped doing it. Even if you are addicted to it, and doing it makes you feel better, this is a benefit. Make sure you clearly understand the benefits you are getting from your negative habits.
There is some “need” or “fulfillment” that your bad habit is giving you in your life. Now that you are starting to see why you do it, you can apply your self control to those areas to fill the “need” that is lacking and causing you to smoke.
You also must see that it’s quite easy, right now you want to smoke (or do your thing), and if you did not want to smoke you would not be doing it. You may say you don’t want to smoke, but you enjoy smoking more than the alternative of not smoking. We will always do what we want the most, you may say, “I don’t want to clean my bathroom, but you wanted to clean it more than you wanted to have a dirty bathroom or you would not have cleaned it. There are always alternatives to your bad habit. So the second step is to write down your alternatives. What are they? The alternative to smoking is health, fresh air, smell good, save money etc. List your alternatives next to your reasons for liking your bad habit.
EX: Makes me feel good emotionally < – > makes me sick physically
Relieves boredom < – > Costs me money
So look at your alternatives, and decide if you want them more, or if you want your habit more.
Once you have analyzed your true reasons for doing it, vs. your reasons for not doing it then look at the reasons for doing it. See if there is something good or supportive that can give you the same benefit in your life.
Example smoking relieves boredom, but I can also relieve boredom by doing………….
In other words, find a replacement for the thing that you feel you are lacking self control in.
So, if you “really do enjoy smoking” (or your other habit) then you have to decide if you really want to quit. Perhaps you really don’t want to quit, and if you don’t want to then it’s just not time for you to try. So you need to analyze why you enjoy smoking? The truth could be that you really don’t enjoy it, but that it fulfills a need for you that you are not getting, a need that you could get somewhere else. For instance perhaps you don’t like to smoke, but smoking makes you feel good about yourself, so you smoke to feel good about yourself. You feel like you enjoy smoking because you feel good about yourself when you do it, but the truth is that you could find some other way to feel good about yourself to replace the smoke.
Anyway the point of these exercises is to help you figure out why you enjoy it, what the reason for that is, what you like about it, and how it makes you feel.
You see, as I stated earlier, you will always do the thing that gives you the greatest value. It’s not that you lack the self control, you have plenty of that. It’s that you don’t see the value in the change, or the value in the change is not as great as the value in doing it. So you must come to understand yourself. You must figure out what “YOU” really want. If you really do want to change, then you must see the value in the change.
Think about it some; see if you can figure it out, because there has to be a reason, consciously or subconsciously that you enjoy it, or you would not do it. Then what you need to do is replace that reason either with another positive, or compare that reason to the negative. Make a choice based on your values.
Do you want to have nice skin or the cigarette? If you want the cig more than skin that’s great, if you want the skin more that’s great as well. When you replace a cause with something else that is good vision and think about it. For example: when you think about smoking think about how beautiful you are. Think about how nice it feels to breath, really feel how good it feels, appreciate how grateful you are that you are choosing health instead of smoke. You must use these mental and emotional tools to help you as you apply your great self control to this issue. Substitute your values, (positive reasons) for the ones I used as an example.
I have given you lot’s to think about, but in the end it comes down to that choice, “skin or smoke.” What one will you choose today?
Now, this is all great, but we all know that change does not happen overnight right? Wrong! Change happens right now, the end result might not happen overnight, but change never happens, unless it is started right now! So, when are you willing to choose what you really want? When are you ready to discover your true values, and decide if what one you want to put your energy in?
The End! – Unless….
Bonus Section: If you still want more information on this then keep reading.
I spoke with my friend about this and she started talking about why she still smokes today, and why this might not work. These are my thoughts on that.
I don’t really care why you are still smoking today, because that is all history. What matters if you will continue past today and keep doing it? The past is why you “were” doing it. So today, will you keep doing it? Because if you chose skin, then every time you see a cig think about your skin and every time you smoke say something out loud like “today I choose to have a cigarette over having nice beautiful healthy young skin. Substitute your benefits for your negatives instead of smoking.
Lastly, there is another method that works well for creating more of the life you want. I call this the choice method. If you don’t’ understand how choices work, then it’s hard to make choices. Sounds elementary, but it goes a little deeper than this sentence. Perhaps I’ll share this with you soon. If you want to know more about it then ask!
P.S. (choice method) the basics of it are found in this thought. Every choice you make includes one choice, and excludes another. What choices do you want to include? What choices do you want to exclude?
P.P.S. My friend’s response to the above conversation was that I needed to write about this because “Maybe it will help other smokers wake up!!”
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