I heard a San Diego based Mindfulness coach Pete Kirchmer speak recently and he said about self -control: get more and need less.
I had never heard it put so well. In western culture we are surrounded by the notion that we don’t really need will power and self- control – every week there is a new diet that promises that we don’t need to feel deprived to lose weight.
This is a fairy tale and all you have to do is look around at the obesity rate for proof. Everybody has had a boss who did not have enough self control and said regrettable things that damaged the relationship. We do need will power and self control, and lots of it. You can actually condition yourself to exercise self control by literally making yourself practice something difficult in small ways and then bigger ways. Conditioning will be another topic coming up. Today, I want to the concept of “need less”.
Needing less self-control requires structure: it means planning your day and arranging your environment to support your desire for self control. This is the idea behind small snacks over the course of the day to maintain blood sugar. This is the idea behind the rule not to grocery shop when you are hungry. It means taking five minutes to quiet the mind and get centered before difficult conversations. It means not scheduling meetings that require the most brain power – big decisions or complex problem solving late in the day.
The fewer decisions you have to make over the course of the day, the more power you will have available for the rest of the day, so make your plan the night before and stick to it. Decide what you will wear, what you will eat, and your schedule for the day the night before so your brain is free at the beginning of the day to think about important things.
How can you change the way you manage your schedule to increase your chances of maintaining self control?