When it comes to creating new habits and achieving goals, impulsivity can quickly get in the way if we’re not self-disciplined enough. This is why it’s important to learn how to control your impulses and maintain self control. When we do this, we are able to overcome bad habits and impulses that may potentially stop us from reaching our goals. Often times you’ll notice that a ‘bad day’ usually stems from a lack of self control and inability to accomplish the things we planned on getting done.
1. Bounce Back Rate
As someone who is constantly working on themselves and trying to be the best version of myself possible, there are always times where I slip up and fall back into my old bad habits and cycles. I’ve learnt that the only way to break this pattern is by acknowledging when I have given into my impulses. The idea of simply knowing where I’ve gone wrong helps me to make a choice of whether or not I want to continue giving into my impulses or stop. This choice is what determines your ‘bounce back rate.’ Your bounce back rate is determined by how fast you’re able to get back into alignment with yourself.
Think of the times you’ve began a new diet. You keep to it for two days and then on the third one you have a little cheat meal. That cheat meal then becomes a cheat day and that cheat day becomes a cheat week and so on. In this situation you’ve clearly lost self control and given into your impulses. The only thing you can do from here is make a choice on you want to continue down this path. When you choose to no longer give into your impulses and get back on your diet regardless of how much progress you think you may have lost, that is what determines your ‘Bounce Back Rate.’
Your bounce back rate is how quick you’re able to get back on track with your habits. The more you work on your bounce back rate, the faster you will bounce back into action instead of wasting time that could be spent achieving your goals. Next time you fall off, simply focus on and ask yourself how fast you’re able to bounce back into action!
2. ‘All Progress Lost’ Mentality
Bouncing back may sound easy to do but often times what stops us from doing it, is the idea that because we’ve given into our impulses, we’ve now lost all progress and have to start the process all over again. This mentality will only keep you stuck so there is absolutely no point in adopting it. The idea of starting the progress all over again comes from thinking that things have to be done perfectly in order for you to do them right.
Well this is your permission slip to mess up and do it wrong! The point is that you try. When you attempt at things and start to build new habits, get it out of your head that it needs to be done perfectly. If you fall off track every once in a while, stop thinking that you’ve lost all progress and simply get back on track. It’s okay to try and fail than to not try at all, the point is that you keep failing forward.
Let’s talk about the root of the problem for a second, buffering. This is a concept I learnt from Brooke Castillo. She refers to buffering as a state you are in when you’re giving into your impulses. Whenever you give into an impulse, you are unconsciously doing so to avoid pain and discomfort. Working out isn’t fun, doing your homework isn’t fun, keeping habits up are not fun. To your brain, making an effort towards these things are very uncomfortable so instead your subconscious chooses to buffer. When you buffer you are attempting to avoid going towards discomfort by giving into your impulses. These impulses or states of ‘buffering’ can be anything things like, smoking, alcohol, casual sex, music, Netflix, porn, over working, over-indulging, binge eating, impulsively checking your phone all the time and so on.
We all have our own list of ways we buffer. The important thing is to realize when you are actually doing it. Ask yourself why am I avoiding this? Is it too painful to really pick up that pen and start writing this essay or am I just unconsciously buffering again? When you’re able to realize why you’re procrastinating something, it’s a lot easier to overcome it.
4. Go Towards Discomfort
Like I briefly mentioned above, you have to be willing to go towards discomfort. This is what self-discipline and self-control means. If you really want to know how to control your impulses, start by not always choosing the easy way out. In order to achieve any level of success, you have to be willing to get uncomfortable at some point. Reaching a goal is never easy. It requires a lot of dedication and consistency.
Waking up early during winter, working out every evening after a long work day, eating healthy foods, staying off your phone and so on is never going to feel comfortable. Especially when you first start out. However, eventually as you go along, you start to realize how these little habits contribute to a greater change in your life. If you really want something bad enough, you have to realize that no matter what it is, there’s going to be a process between you and the thing you want. That process is almost always going to require effort, and you have to decide whether or not you want to put in the effort to get what it is you want. However uncomfortable the journey may be.
5. Feeling Your Urges
In learning how to control your impulses, we often forget that we have the power of choice. When an urge comes on we almost always act on it. It’s like when you hear your phone beep while you’re busy meditating and you can’t help but check who it is. This is an example of what it looks like to give into an urge. We seem to forget that we literally have the power to feel our urges without acting on them.
Think about this for a second. Whenever you feel an urge to do something you know you shouldn’t be doing, like eating sugar or watching another hour of TV. All you have to do is sit there for a moment, analyze the urge you’re feeling and realize that it is simply an emotion you’re feeling. You do not need to act on this feeling, you can simply feel it and allow it to pass.
6. Self-Love vs. Self-Discipline
Over the past few years, self-love has really been a dominant theme in the self-help industry. We’re constantly being taught to love ourselves and do everything that makes us happy. However, I think somewhere along the line this message seems to have gotten misinterpreted a bit. Loving yourself does not mean taking frequent breaks from working on your business, staying in pj’s all day or having another piece of cake. Loving yourself means that you’re able to say, “no, this is no longer good for me.” Loving yourself means you take a good look at your life, what needs to be fixed and then actually making the decision and taking the action towards fixing it.
This doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a break every now and again, it simply means that you love yourself enough to do the hard and not so fun things that are required to give you the best life possible. This means actually sticking to your routines, doing the work and knowing how to control your impulses.
7. Over Self-Indulgent Behavior
Sometimes when it comes time to indulging, we tend to over-indulge and not know when to stop. This could be in anything from food, taking long breaks or even spending money. It is okay to indulge every once in a while but you have to be able to recognize when things are getting out of control. Usually the way we’re able to tell this is when we feel like we’re ‘stuck in a rut’ or we simply just know we’re feeling awful already from our lack of self-control. If you want to be able to control your impulses, you have to be able to control the way you ‘let go’ as well.
Think about how rewarding it feels when you’ve stuck to a workout all week and you take a day to break, compared to when you take simply just
8. Become Self-Reliant
A true sign of self-control is being able to count on yourself. When you’re put in a situation where there’s temptation all around you and you’re able to not act on your impulses regardless, this is how you know you’ve truly achieved self-control and discipline. Sometimes we need to learn to trust ourselves more. Being able to be self-reliant is a good trait to have when you’re trying to accomplish a goal. It means that you don’t need anyone or anything to help you but yourself. There’s no need for pity parties or doing things for the approval of those around you. The only person that matters in this situation is you and your goals.
9. Mindset Of Lack
One thing that often gets in the way of achieving goals is a mindset of lack. When we give into a mindset of lack or a mindset that we do not have enough of something, naturally we’re only going to want more. Think about how many times you’ve acted on impulses because you thought you’d never get the opportunity to do or have something that was available to you in the moment, again. When you give into a mindset of lack, you will almost always feel like you need to grab anything and everything that’s available to you or that’s in front of you.
When you let go of this mindset, you are no longer in lack. You’re able to enjoy things more. This is because you don’t run towards things out of impulse. This is why its important to let go of a mindset of lack and adopt a mindset of abundance instead.
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Alana – Mae