If you’re one of those people who have a hard time turning down a cookie or just lack self-control in general, this could be an important post to read. A lot of people will tell you different things, you shouldn’t have the cookie, only have a half, or maybe to eat the cookie and have another. Here’s what I think; if we deprive ourselves of everything that is bad for us, it could come back and really bite us. One cookie will not kill you. The time when we should really start worrying is if we are allowing ourselves a cookie a day or more. That’s when our self-control plays in.

Self-control is something we should practice and get better at each and every day. It not only applies to our diets but also to other life happenings, such as during workouts, when you are out at the bar, when you are having conversations…the list goes on. When you have self-control, you are considered a disciplined person. You are the type of person that can easily turn down another drink because you know you have reached your limit, or the type to slow down on the workout because you know if you push yourself for one more second you could be on your way to an injury. If you are one of these people, I congratulate you because that is a hard feat to conquer. If you are not, there are many tips we can follow in order to become more disciplined with ourselves.

The first step to follow is a gradual increase in your ability for self-denial. For instance, I am guilty of being addicted to dark chocolate. I used to find myself craving it every day, in which case, I would let myself have it. Once I became more aware of my body and what I was feeding it, I tried taking dark chocolate away day by day. I’m currently at the place where I allow myself to have it once a week. What I have come to find is that if I tried to take it away completely, I would crave it even more so than when I had no limits on my intake. A gradual increase in your ability for self-denial is the way to go.

Next, we can learn how to distract ourselves. This is a good tip to follow not only when it comes to your diet but also when you’re in the gym getting through your workouts. I use distraction when I find myself wanting seconds in a meal or when I find myself wanting to just stop the workout and lie flat on the ground forever. A lot of it comes from your ability to relax and calm yourself down. In terms of diet, whenever I feel like I want something I shouldn’t eat or when I feel like reaching for seconds, I allow myself at least two minutes to breathe and really think of the consequences that would follow. I think of other things that may have happened that day or talk to those around me. Nine times out of ten, after the two minutes have passed, I normally don’t feel like reaching for seconds anymore. Whatever works best for you as a distraction, try it the next time you want to have something you probably shouldn’t. In terms of working out, distractions start to come in when I am feeling a lot of pain or simply just wish I could give up. Find a spot on the wall or think of getting that ultimate beach body, whatever it takes for you to get through it. Once you get into a pretty smooth rhythm of fighting off those impulses, negative desires, and emotions, your self-control will start taking turns for the better.

In my opinion, one of the most important tips of them all is that it is okay to fail sometimes. Failure is part of the process. We are all humans, so of course, we all make mistakes. If you lose self-control sometimes, it’s okay, take it as a learning experience and think about how to act differently next time.

 -Hannah