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Self-Control: The Root System for a Good Life

The following post is from Jeff of My Super-Charged Life:

source: eocs

Do you have self-control?

Typically, we recoil at the thought of restraint. After all, we are free adults. We should be able to do as we please. However, sometimes what pleases us isn’t always what’s best for us.

For example, it is best to use self-control when it comes to:

  • Good personal finances.
  • Good health.
  • Good relationships.
  • Good work habits.
  • Good parenting.
  • Good spiritual life.

In just about every area of life that really matters, it is advantageous to exercise discipline and self-control. Often, we know what we should do, but we fail to make ourselves do it.

A great example of this involves losing weight. In case you just crawled out from under a rock, the secret to dropping a few pounds and keeping it off is eating less and exercising more. We know this. We’ve heard it a thousand times, but we ignore it.  Instead, we waste our time and money on expensive diets and programs.


Because these things often promise us fast results without having to deny ourselves of much.

Of course, this isn’t just a weight loss issue. We fail at our most important goals in life because we lack the willingness to exercise self-control.

Self-Control Is the Root System for a Good Life

Think of self-control like the root system of a sapling apple tree. The baby tree has to develop strong roots before it will ever produce a useful harvest. With good roots, it will go on to feed thousands with nourishing fruit for many years.

This is the same way that self-control works in our lives. It’s the root system for a good life. Self-control produces things in us like:

  • Patience
  • Discipline
  • Perseverance
  • Delayed Gratification
  • Loyalty
  • Contentment
  • Excellence

These virtues are all extremely important to accomplishing goals.

Without self-control, none of these things are evident in our lives and we will fail to achieve our desired results. We will not produce a bountiful and nourishing crop.

The Reason We Lack Self-Control

We lack self-control simply because we don’t exercise it.

Self-control is like a muscle. It atrophies from lack of use.

Why don’t we use it? Because we don’t realize our own strength. We literally think we aren’t strong enough to control ourselves.

Think about it. Why do you over eat, over spend and generally over-indulge? Does the devil make you do it? Are you a robot tethered to a remote control?

No. You are a person. You have a mind of your own. You decide what to do. You choose it. It is all up to you, you, YOU. The sooner you accept this, the better.

You choose to over-indulge because it is a habit that you fail to override with self-control.

Self-Control Is Necessary to Change

Self-control is essential to breaking bad habits.

You can think of habits as grooves in our brains and behavior. We stay in the well-worn grooves because it is easy.  That’s great when our habits are good ones, but what about when they aren’t?

We can use self-control to change. We can form new grooves, but this takes effort. We have to choose to push ourselves out of our comfort zones using our self-control.

Too often, we let our self-control weaken, from lack of use, to the point where change is very difficult. First, we have to rebuild our self-control before we can make significant progress toward change.

How do you do this? By exercising our self-control just like we exercise our muscles. We start with small hand-weights and work our way up to bigger things.

Embrace Self-Control for a Good Life

Self-control often gets a bad rap. You don’t have to give up all the pleasurable things in life. You just have to exercise moderation.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything, you just can’t do everything.

Keep your self-control strong and you’ll always have the internal willpower to choose what’s best.

If you have let your self-control breakdown, then start rebuilding it by putting it to use in small ways until you can once again do some heavy lifting.

Self-control is your friend. Use it wisely.

What’s the condition of your self-control?

Jeff Nickles writes My Super-Charged Life to help people find success and meaning in their life. He has spent many hours researching these topics and loves making it easy for others to use the wisdom he discovers. Jeff is a corporate IT Director, but also has experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, training instructor, and military officer.