4 Ways To Improve Your Self-Control

By Rose McNulty May 22th, 2020 | Image Source : Muscle And Fitness

Make it easier for yourself to put the cookie down.

The coronavirus pandemic has most people in lockdown—or at the least, unable to hit the gym and hesitant to venture into the outside world. It seems to have sparked a positive change in some people’s diet and exercise regimens, but it’s had a negative impact on others.

When it comes down to it, it’s easier than ever to procrastinate on your fitness goals because it feels like there’s plenty of time to reach them before the world opens up again. The good news is there are ways to help yourself improve self-control and make healthy decisions during these trying times, and one of them is self-nudging, according to an article published in Behavioural Public Policy

But what is self-nudging?

Basically, it’s setting yourself up for success using your environment—in this case, your home. The world around you plays a big part in the short-term decisions you make, and creating a space that nudges you to make healthy choices can help you keep making progress toward your long-term goals.

“Various needs and desires are always competing for attention in our minds and bodies. Self-nudging can help us to negotiate these internal conflicts. It is a practical tool that can enhance self-understanding,” study author Samuli Reijula, a philosopher at the University of Helsinki, said in a release.

That could mean rearranging the food in your refrigerator, or something as simple as setting up reminders on your phone to give yourself a push in the right direction. Humans tend to be big fans of instant gratification, so a pint of ice cream at the front of the freezer right now will probably eclipse the prospect of hitting the beach without having reached your physique goals later.

To help you keep working toward your goals in quarantine, researchers from the University of Helsinki and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development shared four key ways to use self-nudging to help improve your short-term decision making.

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Use reminders and prompts

This one may be the easiest for most people, considering it’s as easy as setting a reminder on your phone or taping a note to the fridge. Whether it helps you to just remind yourself of the goals you’re working toward or prompt yourself to stop scrolling through Instagram and go for a run, it’ll help you keep the big picture in mind.

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Frame the decision differently

This one requires a bit more creativity, but reframing the choice you’re about to make to consider the long-term is another method the researchers suggest. Their example is a choice between jogging and not jogging. Instead of looking at it in terms of your immediate future (aka to continue binging Netflix or to get off the couch), reframe it as a choice between health and sickness in old age.

When you put it that way…

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Make the unhealthy option less convenient

Another way to nudge yourself in the right direction is to make it inconvenient to be unhealthy. If you need to take things out of a cabinet or use a step ladder to reach the Cap’n Crunch, the granola that’s within arm’s reach will be the lazier, but healthier option.

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Use social pressure and self-commitment

This tried-and-true method can be especially helpful in self-isolation. Whether you start a public challenge with friends on social media or join a fitness community in an app or online, being part of a pack where you share your progress can make you feel more obligated to reach your personal goals.

Author: Rose McNulty


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