It’s not easy to have self-control these days – don’t smoke, eat less, exercise more. At the same time we are bombarded by endless commericals of gooey pizzas and rich chocolate candies. Talk about conflicting messages! It’s a wonder we have any self-control at all. In my Health Talk, the Seven Secrets of Self-Control, I share what I learned from top researchers and behavioral and sports psychologists. I discovered a lot about what sabbotages self-control and more importantly, what we can do about it. Here are a few insights:
- Expect to Fail. Self control is about behavior change and whether we want to lose weight, stop smoking or eat more heathfully, we have to learn to do something new. Failure is a natural part of the learning process. Like learning to ride a bike, at first you don’t succeeed. You bobble and may be even fall but eventaully you self-correct and riding that bike becomes second nature. So, too for healthy habits.
- Shift Your Attitude. We often beat our selves up instead of self correcting: I blew it, I’ll never get it right, it’s too hard! Sound familiar? Instead, ask yourself: what happened? Is there anything I can do about it now? And what can I do to prevent this from happening in the future?
- Create a Supportive Environment. It’s easier to avoid the cookies and chips when they’re still in the grocery store. It’s easier to control portions when you don’t have large bowls of pasta on the kitchen table. Studies show the people with whom we eat can affect our behavior too. If you’re friends eat well and are active, chances are you will do the same. The buddy system works. So grab a buddy and support each other in meeting your health goals.