1.Don’t let the enemy in: the first necessary step that you will need to make is to become aware of your triggers or weakness. You can’t confront what you don’t acknowledge. After recognizing them, just make sure that you don’t put your temptations in front of you. You can’t control the world but you can control what comes into your own home. You can also control the environment which you choose to expose yourself to. If you don’t see it, you are less likely to be preoccupied by it and even being tempted by it. If something is within your reach then you put yourself in a position that demands self-control, but if you cannot effortlessly get it then you eliminate the possibility of losing your control and indulging in something that could possibly lead to regret afterwards. Eliminating temptations as well as avoiding problem situations can be the best and easiest manner to reduce inner struggles and increase your control over your impulses and desires.
2. Ask for help: by telling people that you are trying to control your urges, you are making a public commitment, which will strengthen your resolve, make it more real and like it or not make others an external control resource. The presence of others will naturally also make you think twice before self- indulging as you know that others will observe and comment.. Others can also be a source of support, motivation and sympathy during rough and challenging times. Make sure that you surround yourself with people who will help and encourage you to reach your goals and not with people who enable your bad habits.
3. Set realistic goals at the ideal moments: you might want to pursue more than one goal at the time i.e. quite smoking and dieting; but you will achieve more success if you tackle one problem at a time. The timing is also important. If you are having a very stressful, turbulent and difficult time in your life, it is less likely that you can handle additional demands and challenges. Choose to confront and increase your self-control in more serene and less stressful times. By having more energy, being in a better mood and having more resources available to you, you will increase chances of successful resistance.
4. When the urge is really intense and you cannot think of anything else, you can use distractions. By distracting yourself and occupying your mind with something else, the urge will reduce in time. You can choose an activity i.e. take a walk in the neighbourhood, listen to music, talk with a friend, surf the net, read a book or a visualisation of a peaceful and comforting place can also help. Some people like to visualize success. By making an image in their mind of what life will be like if they achieve their goals, what they will look like, feel, how they will behave differently, what others will think etc. Visualizing success increases your strength and resolve to achieve and be like/ live in that image. Try a few strategies until you will find something that works well for you.
5. Be forgiving and appreciative: you have to remember that we are all humans and we make mistakes. Even if you break down and slip, it does not mean that it is all hopeless or that you cannot start again tomorrow. Nor does it mean that you cannot learn from your mistakes. Realize what went wrong and make a plan of how to react better when a similar situation will arise. By having an action plan at hand you will not need to think and start making decisions during a tough time; you will just follow your existing plan. By following an already prepared plan you do not need to relay on your will power as much and you will feel stronger and more prepared. Don’t give up and don’t be too hard on yourself. When you do achieve small successes appreciate your effort and your achievements. Enjoy and focus on the positive progress that you made. Experience the great feelings that come with it. Be proud! You can rewards yourself with an activity/object that gives you pleasure and adds positivity to your life. Keep in mind that practice, endurance, faith, motivation, effort and self- efficacy will increase your self-control abilities and eventually will pave the path to the desired triumph.