We live in a world where social media platforms are always vying for our attention. Constantly flickering phone screens, along with the easy accessibility of our lives over social media, have made the ability to focus feel like hard work. As per studies, an average six-year-old can barely stay focused on a task for 8-10 minutes. When the same child steps into the age of adolescence, there is a substantial increase for up to 48 minutes. But adulthood hits hard with its increased number of distractions, making the focus drop to just 20 minutes.
The information overload on the internet and otherwise are culprits behind this inability of people to focus. Ageing, too, plays a major role. However, fret not, as you are not powerless in this case. You can shift your focus on things you want. You just need to work on your self-control to overcome life’s many distractions. To make things seamless for you, we have put together simple tips that can be followed in your daily life to improve self-control.
Health Shots got in touch with a clinical psychologist Dr Kamna Chhibber, to get to know how to improve self-control.
What is self-control?
Apart from the dictionary meaning that limits self-control to restraint and self-deprivation, it also means control exercised over one’s own desires, emotions, and impulses. It is a conscious effort to direct one’s energy and willpower to achieve the desired outcome. Sometimes, it could mean refraining from doing something like smoking, while other times it means being mindful about doing something like building good habits.
How to improve self-control?
Let’s dive straight into the big question that concerns many! Our expert shares some tips that can be executed to hone your ability in implementing self-control for fruitful results.
1. Act like the way you want your future self to be
To achieve a desired outcome, you must continually act like the person you want to become to stay motivated. “Your must align your actions with your goals in order to exercise self-control,” says the expert. Your actions must match what is needed from you to reach your goals. That way, you’ll stay empowered to do the needful every time you feel tempted by an outside distraction.
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2. Simplify your life by breaking down the process
Big goals can scare any, especially a rookie. For instance, you want to hit the target of 50 kg straight from the current weight of 70 kg That 20 kg lag can feel daunting. So, break down the process, and instead of focusing on the 20-kilo goal, start by shedding off, let’s say, 1 kg every week. It’s that simple. Focusing on the smaller goals keeps you motivated and helps you stay on the path to the bigger ones. “Break down the task into small incremental steps towards building control,” says the expert.
3. Don’t lose sight of the larger picture
Breaking free from old patterns and cycles is not easy. However, understand that all this pain and turmoil is leading you to larger things in life. That way, the force of distractions will extinguish your mind and life. “Understand how exercising self-control would help you further in life,” says the expert.
4. Take help when needed
“Take support of your loved ones or well-wishers to give you the motivation and reminders to stay on your path of building self-control,” says the expert.
5. Use all the coping mechanisms you know when you falter
Some days will test your patience and will force you to react in unwanted ways. However, even if you falter in some moments, focus on going back towards engaging yourself in mechanisms you have built for yourself to assert self-control.