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What Is Self Control Living A Content Life Through Will Power

Updated on April 10, 2012

The ability to abstain from bad behavior, making sure we do the right thing. Those with greater self control lead more content lives. They don’t struggle with right and wrong, they simply do it and move on.

Self control and success

Having control over one’s life brings us happiness. If we don’t struggle with food, drugs, alcohol or pornography addictions we live an easier life.

People lacking self control or will power make frequent wrong choices and are unhappy with their decisions. They suffer guilt and the consequences of their behavior.

Those who are adept at self control do better in school, achieve their life goals, have happier marriages and are more successful in life overall.

Religion and Alcoholics Anonymous

Some people need a lot of rules and someone to oversee they are doing what they should. Going to church or similar institution that has strict guidelines works for some people. It helps them keep on track. Prayer and meditation helps them focus on their task and stick with the plan. They have a group of followers helping maintain order and discipline.

Alcoholics Anonymous works in a similar way. You have a mentor who checks up on you to make sure you are keeping with your goal of sobriety.

Weight control

Having the will power to not overeat or staying away from foods that are bad for us shows a great degree of self control. You see bacon, ice cream, donuts or whatever your favorite high calorie food is and you are able to walk away. It doesn’t nag at you to take a little taste or even eat just one.

Overeating is one of the hardest habits to break. We don’t need cigarettes to live or alcohol but we have to eat. Food is everywhere it’s part of our lives. Every holiday, celebration and get together includes food.

Thin people enjoy eating too they just have self control over the food they eat. That isn’t to say they have self control in every aspect of their lives but that particular area isn’t a struggle for them. They choose healthier foods or simply eating less.

Alcohol or drug abuse

This one is a learned behavior. In most cases people are not born addicts, at some point in time they decide to try these things and after a while it becomes a necessity to their lives.

People with will power can say no initially to drugs and alcohol or if they do partake they never let it be a strong influence on their lives. One or two drinks is fine and then they are finished.


I’ve read they are more addictive than heroin. Oddly enough there are a few people that are social smokers. They pick it up when out with friends or occasionally but never develop a full blown habit. They can get up the morning after smoking and don’t crave a cigarette or if they do they tell their bodies, “Not today.” These people have a strong sense of self control.

Addictive personalities

Some people have more of an addictive personality. Perhaps it’s an oral fixation causing them to smoke too much, overeat or drink too much alcohol. Having a need to do something with one’s hands or mouth at all times can be a precursor to an addiction.

If you will notice overweight people or those who smoke often times also bite their fingernails. Oral fixation.


Some of you may remember the little naked cartoon figures with the caption, “Love is…” And then it would go on to tell us what word, action or object caused happiness.

Love is a butterfly; Love is a sunset; Love is a hug. You get the idea.

Psychologists have found that people with the greatest amount of self control are the happiest people. They also live longer than their addictive counterparts. When you have self control you are able to avoid hazardous materials that shorten your life. You have less stress because you are not struggling with the right decision; it just comes natural to those with will power.

Exercising self control

You’ve probably heard this phrase before and it makes it sound like something you would do at the gym.

When we practice will power it soon becomes second nature. It is in fact like a muscle if you go lax and think, “Meh, what can one cupcake hurt?” Eventually it becomes easier and easier to give in to desires so that we stop trying all together.

BUT, if we practice saying no and we focus on what is the right thing to do, eventually THAT becomes second nature. You soon become better at self control.

Having an affair

People who are habitual cheaters have an addiction to affairs. They know it’s wrong but being promiscuous has become a habit. Some will lie to themselves and come up with excuses such as, “men were never intended to be with only one woman” or they put the blame on their wife, “She isn’t giving me enough sex.” They simply lack self control.

Those with self control have longer happier marriages.

Changing your behavior

Overcoming addiction is basically learning will power and having self control. You learn to take control of your life and not let food, drugs or whatever rule your behavior.

Will power can be learned. In the beginning it will be difficult for those that have not exercised self control up to this point but with time and practice they can achieve it. Eventually it will become second nature.

Write down your life goals, carry them around with you and remind yourself of them often. When you focus on your end result those nagging habits can be pushed to the back of your mind.

Find a buddy, spouse or family member to help you out. Just like Alcoholics Anonymous you can recruit your own mentor to help you with your goal whether it's overspending, not exercising or whatever you need assistance with in life. There will be times you will snap at them and get angry but you need to try to be patient and realize they are helping you with your goal.

Self control can be learned you just need the will power to want to change and be a better person.


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    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      A great hub! Self control is what I believe differentiates humans from animals....

      If we consider all the above addictions in an individual then we cannot rate him as a HOMO SAPIEN... that would be an irrational decision on our part~

      A very well written and great hub!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Credence, moderation is the key.

    • Credence2 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Great article, Pamela, but honestly, all of us have at least one vice. Robert E. Lee said it is better for one to deny oneself. I do not know anyone who can bridle their passions, whatever they may be to a level of perfection. Somewhere there has to be a cross between stoic self discipline and living life with an attitude of abandon. I only long for that cream puff if I am forced to eat broccoli and carrots all the time. I think most of the time moderation is the key to all things, well most things, anyway.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Millionaire Tips, two marshmallows it is. When I was a little girl I could make a candy bar last a week. It drove my siblings nuts.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Self control and will power is definitely important in all aspects of life. Thanks for bringing up this important topic. Great video too. I'll take two marshmallows please, and I'll wait however long it takes.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      And the silent or GI generation would say that the baby boomers lacked self control with "their tune out turn on mentality."

      For the record, I'm the X generation.

    • SilentReed profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      Most people today would prefer to "eat the marshmallow" The older generation like the baby boomers have more fortitude perhaps because there was less temptation during their time and life moved at a slower pace. Unlike the Millennial generation where everything is changing rapidly necessitating a "fast-tracking" attitude that some may view as lacking commitment and discipline.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you Kashmir. Here's a marshmallow.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pamela, very beautifully written hub and i agree with everything you wrote. But i have no self control when it comes to hub voting so i must vote up and more !!!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      That is true. I was able to make a candy bar last a week when I was a child so I think I would be able to do this test.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image


      6 years ago

      Some people are blessed with a "wait for 2 marshmallows" attitude which others have to learn.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Teaches, I like that video too.

      Phoenix, you have to really want to quit and it doesn't sound like you do. Deciding you want to is the key.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I actually am one of those social smokers. I'll have one in the morning with my coffee and then maybe another one after lunch or dinner. It depends how busy I am. Why not just quit? Because I am addicted. I go through phases where I don't smoke at all, then I'll start again for a few months and then stop again.

      I do practice self control with alcohol. Only on special occasions and never when I have to work the next day or need to keep my wits about me.

      Having experienced self-controlled and out-of-control life experiences, I definitely agree with self-control. You can accomplish so much more and there's a lot less to have to explain to those in charge.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Developing self control early in life does make for a happier person. The video was cute but it made its point. I think sometimes you do have to reward yourself when you have achieved self control over a bad habit. Good read on this topic.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Very well written, I too cann't disgree with anything you have put on here. Voted Up and awesome.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Another excellent hub Pamela. Thank you.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, Jamie.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hi Pamela N Red, I am one of those with an addictive personality.. if it changes the way I feel in the least little bit, I find myself addicted. I enjoyed your hub, you brought up a lot of interesting info to think about :)

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Cagsil, did you eat the marshmallow? :o)

    • Cagsil profile image


      6 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Pamela, I could not find anything to disagree with. :) LOL Very nicely written and well said. :) Voted up! Useful and Awesome! :)


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