People who have not yet mastered self-control often display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

Mastering self-control is no easy task. It’s a skill that requires constant practice and introspection.

Often, people who have yet to master this skill exhibit certain behaviors without even realizing it.

Identifying these behaviors is the first step towards building a stronger sense of self-control. And I’ve noticed that there are certain tell-tale signs that give them away.

In this article, I’ll be highlighting 8 common behaviors to help you identify if you or someone you know might need to work on their self-control. Let’s dive in.

1) Impulsivity reigns supreme

One of the most common traits among people who haven’t yet mastered self-control is impulsivity.

Impulsivity is the tendency to act on a whim, without thinking through the consequences. It’s like an itch that needs immediate scratching, without considering the potential fallout.

You’ll often see it in the form of quick, rash decisions. Whether it’s making a large purchase on a whim or responding to an email in anger without taking a moment to cool down, these impulsive actions can have far-reaching implications.

The key to overcoming impulsivity? Taking a step back and giving yourself time to think before you act. But for those still working on their self-control, this can be a difficult skill to master.

2) Difficulty saying no

One of the more subtle signs of a lack of self-control is the inability to say ‘no’. It’s all too easy to agree to everything, thinking you’re being helpful or avoiding conflict.

I’ve had my fair share of battles with this. I often found myself agreeing to things that I didn’t want to do or didn’t have time for, all because I was uncomfortable saying ‘no’. It was a clear sign that I needed to work on my self-control and assertiveness.

Saying ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘no’ can lead to resentment, stress, and burnout. It can also result in an imbalance in relationships, as you constantly put others’ needs before your own.

3) Struggle with focus and attention

A less obvious sign of unmastered self-control can be seen in one’s ability to maintain focus and attention.

Those who struggle with self-control may find their minds frequently wandering, unable to stay on task. They might start projects with enthusiasm, only to lose interest quickly and move on to something else, leaving a trail of unfinished tasks behind them.

This constant hopping from one thing to another, without seeing anything through to completion, can be an indication that self-control is still a skill in progress.

Strengthening your ability to focus on a task, even when it’s not the most exciting or stimulating, demonstrates a higher level of self-control. 

4) Neglect of long-term goals

People who have yet to master self-control often have a tendency to neglect their long-term goals.

They might set ambitious targets for themselves but find it difficult to stick to the necessary tasks to achieve them. They might be easily swayed by short-term pleasures or distractions, causing them to lose sight of their bigger objectives.

For instance, someone might have a goal to lose weight, but they find it hard to resist the allure of a decadent dessert or skip a workout after a long day.

This constant struggle between short-term desires and long-term ambitions can be a clear indication that self-control needs to be worked on.

Remember, nurturing self-control is about making choices today that will benefit you in the future. 

5) Inconsistent self-care

unsuccessful people do every day People who have not yet mastered self-control often display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

I believe one of the most significant indicators of unmastered self-control is inconsistent self-care.

People who haven’t yet mastered this vital skill often neglect their own well-being. They might skimp on sleep, eat poorly, or skip regular exercise. Not because they don’t know better, but because maintaining consistent self-care routines requires self-control.

It’s easier to stay up late binge-watching a show than to turn off the TV and get a good night’s sleep. It’s simpler to grab fast food than to cook a healthy meal. And it’s definitely more tempting to skip the gym in favor of more sedentary activities.

But at the end of the day, these decisions take a toll on our health and well-being. 

6) Difficulty in forming and maintaining habits

Forming new habits and maintaining them consistently is a challenge I’ve personally grappled with.

I once decided to incorporate a morning run into my routine. The first few days were great. I felt energized and ready to take on the world. But as the novelty wore off, the initial enthusiasm faded. Snooze buttons were hit, excuses were made, and before I knew it, my new “habit” had fizzled out.

This experience showed me that without a strong sense of self-control, forming and maintaining new habits can be difficult. It’s easy to start something new when it’s exciting and fresh, but the real challenge lies in sticking with it when the novelty wears off.

7) Often running late

Running late occasionally is a common occurrence for all of us. However, if it’s happening often, it might be a sign of unmastered self-control.

People who struggle with self-control often have a hard time managing their time effectively. They may underestimate how long tasks will take, get easily distracted, or procrastinate on starting things until the last minute.

This can lead to a recurring pattern of rushing to meet deadlines or frequently arriving late to appointments and meetings.

8) Over-reliance on external validation

The most critical sign of unmastered self-control is an over-reliance on external validation.

People who constantly seek approval from others often struggle with self-control. They may find it hard to make decisions independently, constantly seeking affirmation from those around them to validate their choices.

This need for external validation is a clear indication of a lack of self-control. It shows a struggle to trust oneself and the ability to make sound decisions independently.

Mastering self-control means being comfortable with your decisions and actions, without the constant need for others’ approval. 

Final thoughts: The power of self-awareness

Understanding human behavior and personal growth is often a journey of self-discovery. And that journey is deeply intertwined with the mastery of self-control.

Psychologist and Stanford professor Albert Bandura, known for his work on self-efficacy, stated, “In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.”

This highlights the importance of self-control. It’s the driving force that helps us overcome obstacles, persist in the face of adversity and work towards our goals, even when the going gets tough.

Recognizing these behaviors in ourselves or others is the first step towards mastering self-control. It’s not about being perfect, but about being aware – understanding our weaknesses and working diligently to turn them into strengths.

So next time you notice one of these behaviors creeping in, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, see it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. After all, mastering self-control is a journey, not a destination.

And every step you take towards it brings you closer to becoming the best version of yourself.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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