What is self-control: what does it consist of and why is it necessary?

Sports, like almost any human activity, should not be carried out uncontrollably. In this case, the best option is to develop self-control. In a general understanding, self-control is a person’s ability to manage his behavior, emotions, thoughts, and respond rationally to external stimuli.

Of course, this requires some effort, focus and discipline. When engaging in physical exercise, self-control is one of the main elements that allows you to receive maximum benefits and results without harming your health.

It is aimed at correctly optimizing sports activities by regularly observing and taking into account physiological data and the state of the body.

What is self-control

Let's define the concept. Self-control is a person’s ability to manage their state and behavior in crisis, conflict and contradictory situations. What does the concept of self-control include? It is closely related to motivation, goal setting, self-esteem, self-discipline, and responsibility. Let’s take a closer look at why self-control is needed.

What is it for?

What is the meaning of self-control? It helps in self-development, achieving goals, getting rid of bad habits and forming new habits. With the help of self-control, a person remains committed to his beliefs and values ​​in stressful situations. Self-control also helps in the fight and prevention of psychological problems. Self-control helps you more easily endure difficulties, physical, psychological and intellectual stress.

Let us briefly describe the importance of self-control for human health and performance:

  • self-control turns on and helps to move forward where motivation weakens or completely disappears;
  • with its help we overcome our laziness, temptations from the outside world and do what needs to be done, even if it is difficult and unpleasant.

In simple terms, self-control helps you find the answer to the question: “Should I do what I want right now or do what will be better and healthier for me in the long run?”

Interesting! In sports, self-control of the body and spirit is important for athletes.


To better understand the features of self-control, let us turn to several psychological phenomena:

  1. Yerkes-Dodson Law. According to this theory, a low or medium level of motivation is more important to achieve sustainable and long-term results. A high level helps achieve short-term results and small goals.
  2. Need-information theory of emotions. To put it briefly and simply, its essence is this: the more we want something and the longer we go towards it, the higher the psychological and emotional stress. A person finds himself in a state of stress, and this negatively affects his activity. He loses the ability to think rationally and slowly but surely move towards the goal. And also, with a strong desire to satisfy some need, any failure is perceived much more painfully. That is, with high motivation, the risk of quitting is greater than with low motivation, but a high level of self-discipline and self-control.

Both phenomena are interconnected and are the basis of self-control.

Heart rate

What are the methods of self-control during physical exercise that allow you to determine this value? For example, to measure resting heart rate, the trainee must be in a sitting position. In this case, it is necessary to feel the temporal, carotid or radial artery, counting the heart beats for five seconds. This must be done two or three times in a row. After receiving the data, the average value is multiplied by 12. This makes it possible to find out the number of heart beats per minute. In untrained people, heart rate is 60-89 beats/min.

Exceeding the normative limits indicates the likelihood of tachycardia, and a rarer pulse may indicate bradycardia. Also, a high heart rate (80-85 beats/min) at rest indicates fatigue of the body. Of course, after training, a person’s pulse increases. However, normally the body should spend from five to ten minutes to restore it. This characteristic will indicate optimal physical activity.

Types of self-control

Let's look at what forms and types of self-control there are according to different classifications from psychology:

  1. Direct and indirect self-control. In the first case, a person turns only to his senses. In the second - to auxiliary external means.
  2. Self-control before an action, during its implementation and self-control of subsequent actions. That is, a person first predicts what will change if he does the right thing (as he thinks), then controls the execution of the intended action and then compares the expectation and reality.
  3. Ascertaining and correcting. In the first case, a person uses self-control to identify current problems, in the second, he gets rid of them or prevents the occurrence of some complications.

In addition, psychology distinguishes between external and internal self-control. The second is connected with the inner world of a person, and the first with the external world. That is, a person struggles with his personal impulses or with negative environmental factors.

Arterial pressure

This indicator is objective. It is no secret that certain fluctuations in blood pressure indicate the rhythm of cardiac activity.

There are various types of self-control during physical exercises, used in sports practice, which allow one to assess the state of the body. Among them are functional tests. So, with independent physical training, it is recommended to do twenty squats in half a minute. After this, the trainee must sit quietly for 3 minutes. A heart rate from 100 to 130 beats/min after physical activity will indicate a low level of load, 130-150 beats/min will indicate average intensity.

Sometimes the pulse with this method of self-control can increase to 150-170 beats per minute. This indicator is typical for the maximum load. The obtained values ​​are an excellent guide for self-control.


Let's look at the best techniques for developing self-control:

  1. Self-restraints. Dopamine fasting is gaining popularity abroad (author – Cameron Sepa, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California). The essence of the “diet” is this: for some time (an hour, a day, a week - progressively) a person refuses surrogates for happiness. What does this mean? Everything that gives a quick surge of joy hormones and instant satisfaction: sweets, alcohol, shopping, sex, extreme sports, communication on social networks, computer games, etc. First of all, you need to give up what is most attractive to you. What is allowed? Walk and communicate with loved ones, read paper books, take care of the house, devote time to hobbies. In general, you need to concentrate on your inner world and on your family and friends. The purpose of fasting is to improve mental health. This includes increasing awareness, getting rid of addictions and their prevention, increasing stress resistance, and returning to true values.
  2. Recognition of emotions. Learn to track what emotions and in what situations you experience. Which of them are primary and which are secondary. Primary emotions: joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise. Everything else that we experience is different combinations of primary emotions.
  3. Tracking and controlling emotions. Start keeping a diary in which you will record the things that drive you crazy. Describe in detail problem situations, your emotions and thoughts, feelings, states, desires. Soon you will identify a group of your stress factors. After that, decide what you can exclude from your life and what you need to continue to interact with on a different plan. Develop a new, productive strategy. Keeping a diary is a form of personal self-control.
  4. Honing a skill. Play a video on YouTube that evokes any strong emotion in you. Restrain yourself. Repeat this exercise several times daily.

Negative motivation: definition, techniques, examples

Often as a child, we heard similar phrases from our parents: “You won’t sit at the computer until you do your homework,” “You won’t get candy until you eat porridge,” “If you don’t clean your room, you won’t go for a walk.” And, as a rule, our parents achieved what they demanded of us, and this happened due to the fact that they influenced our strong desires, directly pointing out that we might not get what we wanted. This technique is one of the aspects of negative motivation. Why is it worth resorting to? What does this achieve? Is this useful? We answer these questions in this article. Read more…



In order for self-control to manifest itself in all its glory and help you improve your life, you need to organize and train it according to the following rules (development of self-control):

  1. Finding meaning and purpose. Why do many people fail to quit smoking or drinking (we are not talking about advanced cases of chemical dependency)? Because there is a lack of awareness. Yes, everyone says that this is bad, but there are no specifics. But if a person admits the fact that, due to a bad habit, his skin condition has worsened, the functioning of some systems has been disrupted, his performance has decreased, and other negative changes have occurred, then it will be easier to quit. If we add to this the prospects of what will happen after giving up a bad habit, then the process will become even more conscious. In this case, the meaning and goal can be formulated, for example, like this: “I will give up alcohol and cigarettes for a month, I will analyze my condition every day (we select specific criteria for measurements) and then compare before and after.” A month is enough to cleanse and initially restore the body, which means that a person will see and feel improvements and decide to extend his experiment for a month, then another month, then another, etc. That is, he will stop drinking and smoking.
  2. We break large tasks into subtasks, that is, we draw up a step-by-step plan. Agree, is it easier to lose a kilogram every week than to think about losing 24 kg in six months? With such a breakdown, you yourself will not notice how you reach your goal.
  3. Let's take the first step. This is the most difficult thing, since you have to fight fears, doubts, laziness, procrastination and other bad things. And once you have started, then, as they say, there is no turning back. By the way, the same rule is true for the “point of no return,” or the equator of your path. Set intermediate goals and analyze the work done.
  4. Let's stop multitasking. Yes, it works for small tasks. For example, you can scan or print something and at the same time build a plan for further work in your head. Or you can wash the dishes and come up with an introduction to the article. But if we are talking about more complex and global tasks, then we need to fully concentrate on one thing. Then you will be able to enter a state of flow and complete the task as quickly and efficiently as possible. We will return to this in the “My Experience” section.
  5. We train willpower. Start with small tasks. For example, train yourself to walk one or more stops to or from work, do daily morning exercises, use stairs instead of elevators and escalators, etc.
  6. Changing the environment. Self-control helps us restrain ourselves, endure, force ourselves to do something. But at the same time, it is important to minimize the level of stress and negativity in your life. For example, if in the presence of a certain person you often lose your balance because he is a walking provocation, then it makes sense to exclude this person from your life. This is not weakness or running away, this is healthy self-help.
  7. We normalize the work and rest schedule. An adult needs to sleep at least 8 hours (individual norm may deviate by 1-2 hours up or down). It is also important to take breaks at work, set aside an hour for lunch and afternoon rest, arrange days off, and alternate physical and intellectual activity. Remember that self-control requires great volitional efforts, that is, energy expenditure. You need to recover so as not to break. And full recovery is only possible in a dream.
  8. Forming habits. The more often you force yourself to do something, the more firmly that pattern becomes ingrained in your brain. Gradually it becomes automatic and becomes a habit. For example, if for several months you have been training at the same time and on the same days, then your body begins to “ask” for the usual load. You no longer force yourself or tune in, but simply go and do it.

Interesting! If you don’t know where to start, then complete the simplest or most difficult task. This will help you get ready for work and move forward with confidence.

Correction of the content of physical exercises and sports based on control results

As a result of observations, it turned out that a third of the athletes required medical adjustments. And up to 20% - correction of the training process. For example, it is necessary to increase aerobic and speed capabilities and endurance. Or increasing rest periods is recommended. As well as a temporary decrease in the volume and intensity of the load. Measures are taken based on pulse values, breathing status, blood pressure, and other parameters. So, if you are overworked or injured, reduce the number of workouts. The rest period should be such that the original performance can be fully restored.

If the training regimen is not adjusted, the student may experience serious impairments. These are pain in the heart, arrhythmia, increased blood pressure. Training will be stopped for a longer period and medical assistance will be required. When recovering, you will have to start with minimal loads in the rehabilitation mode. Individualization and optimization of sports activities are the key to its effectiveness while eliminating harm.

Reasons for importance

Let us analyze the reasons for the importance of developing self-control from the point of view of society as a single organism and the role of self-control in everyday life for each person:

  1. Developed self-control in individuals reduces the level of crime in society and creates a healthy psychological climate. Self-control helps citizens observe rules and order in public places, for example, in transport. In a work team, a high level of self-control by each employee increases overall productivity and performance.
  2. In everyday life, self-control gives a person freedom. Yes, it seems that self-control is all about prohibitions and restrictions. But in fact, self-control helps a person become the master of his own life, get out of the slavery of bad habits, rash decisions, emotional outbursts and other things. Self-control increases a person’s confidence, promotes the development of self-esteem and harmonizes the state.

Interesting! Synonyms for the word self-control: restraint, self-control.

Meditation "Serene Lake"

Using the Serene Lake practice, we learn to regulate emotions, train self-control through breathing and imagination.

You will need 15 minutes of silence and a chair. Sit comfortably, you can turn on meditation music, close your eyes.

Focus on your breathing:

  • Exhale slowly, then slowly take a deep breath.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale slowly again, slowly take a deep breath.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Repeat this procedure several times

Then, with your eyes closed, imagine a lake, any body of water with calm water. Imagine the reflection of the sky in the mirror surface of the water, white clouds. Breathe deeply and contemplate this peace and tranquility. Listen to music and imagine. Sit like this for 10 minutes.

Advantages and disadvantages

We've already talked about why to develop self-control, and you probably already understand the benefits of this skill. Let's list them briefly:

  • due to awareness, the efficiency of decision making increases;
  • Due to the ability to patiently work with long-term goals and delayed results, the chance of success in any business increases;
  • By getting rid of bad habits and impulsive behavior, the quality of life improves.

Are there any downsides to self-control? You might be surprised, but yes. Those people who know how to tightly control themselves may seem callous to others. When you begin to develop self-control, get rid of bad habits and negative behavior, and give preference to long-term results rather than immediate pleasures, most of your usual social circle will be eliminated. At first you will encounter misunderstanding, then you will feel loneliness, but soon you will gather around you those who are interested in both their development and the development of their friends.

Important! In pursuit of developing a steely will and self-control, it is important not to go to the other extreme - a ban on joy, mistakes and spontaneity. There should still be an element of surprise and momentary joy in our lives. Sometimes you need to give free rein to your emotions so as not to develop neurosis.

Self-discipline: instructions for development

Achieving goals is impossible without self-discipline. It is an extremely important attribute required for the acquisition of any personal quality, sportsmanship, virtuosity in art and business or, as a result, outstanding work. Having self-discipline means being able to make decisions, take necessary actions and stick to your plan regardless of obstacles, discomfort or difficulties that may arise. But to develop self-discipline, it is necessary to create certain conditions. You will learn about them from this article. Read more…


How to exercise self-control

How we carry out self-control, build a system and correction plan:

  1. Recognize that self-control is weakening (you are about to succumb to some temptation or quit what you started). Don’t go into self-flagellation, get rid of the feeling of guilt. Only a strong person can admit weakness. We all get tired, our resources are not unlimited.
  2. Think about how to minimize risks. For example, if you are worried that you will buy something harmful at the store, then order food at home, choosing only the right products. And before that, eat so that you are not tempted to buy a lot of “junk”. If you are struggling with your shopaholism, then after adding items to your cart, give yourself time to think. Better yet, put off shopping until another day. In general, you need to understand in what situations and under what conditions you return to a bad habit, and then change the environment around you.
  3. Don't retreat from awareness. For example, if you struggle with overeating, then avoid talking at the table or watching TV. Don’t be distracted from the meal process itself -
    then you won’t “accidentally” eat more.
  4. Include negative thinking. You were probably surprised, because on every corner they advise the opposite. Yes, in general in life you need to strive for positive thinking, but when fighting temptation, turn to negativity. What does it mean? Focus on the dangers of a bad habit, highlight the shortcomings of something or someone, visualize the consequences of destructive behavior, etc.
  5. Find the real problem and fight it. For example, some people drink out of boredom or trying to disguise complexes and self-doubt. Every bad habit has a hidden benefit. You need to identify it and learn to get the same result in a different, healthy way.
  6. Mark your successes on paper, praise and support yourself. It is especially important to do this at the moment of breakdown, rollback: “Yes, I screamed again and could not calmly resolve the conflict. But this time I didn’t throw objects as before. Next time I’ll definitely be able to hold back my scream.” Learn to enjoy the fact that you are in control of yourself and your life.
  7. Get ready for kickbacks. At the beginning of the journey they happen to all people. Immediately determine what you will do in case of failure, think over a system of punishments.
  8. Switch your attention. If you force yourself not to think about something, you will think about it. Need to do something else. In general, it is useful not just to get rid of some bad habit, but to replace one habit with another.

What allows you to maintain self-control? I recommend keeping a diary in which you track changes. Record your thoughts and experiences. First, they will help you bring all problems to the level of awareness, and then - maintain motivation in the pursuit of the goal. In difficult moments, refer to this diary. And also refer to your hierarchy of motives more often. Remind yourself of the main goal for which you can sacrifice immediate desires.

Meditation “One Breath”

Great for beginners! It is good because you don’t need to keep track of time, there is no need for music, incense, special poses or mantras.

It's simple - close your eyes, take a deep breath, feel as much as possible the path of air through the nostrils into the lungs and further into the lower abdomen. Then mentally note the moment your breathing stops. Exhale calmly and softly, feeling as much as possible the path of air back from the stomach to the lungs and then out. That's all!

The main beauty of this technique is its duration. It's very short. Everyone can understand one cycle without problems. The mind will not wander off into something else and you will calm down.

If you like it, do two or three more of these breaths. Our goal is to return to a forgotten and unusual state of composure - here-and-now.

My experience

As an example, I’ll tell you about my experience in dealing with time wasters. I think this is something many copywriters struggle with. When working at home, especially without a specific schedule and plan, every now and then you get distracted by something: reading a letter from a friend on a social network, petting a cat, dusting, finding some information on the Internet, etc. and so on. And everything is important and urgent (actually not). In general, due to frequent interruptions from work, matters are resolved slowly and not very effectively.

I fell into a similar trap until I realized that I needed to create a daily schedule. At least indicate from what time and until what time I work without a break. But this was not enough to achieve maximum efficiency. Over time, I learned to enter a state of flow (remember, in another paragraph of the article we wanted to return to this?).

My first experience of entering a flow state was accidental. I didn’t even know what it was called then. I thought I had some kind of superpower (well, who among us doesn’t want to feel special and unique?). Then I realized that this is one of the psychological phenomena that anyone can find themselves in. Here's my secret to getting into a flow state:

  1. I turn off the sound on my phone, turn off all work chats and other services on the computer, turn off the intercom and remove any other factors that could distract me. If there is someone at home other than me, then please do not distract me. I also set a comfortable temperature in the room: I open the window, turn on the air conditioner or heater (depending on the time of year), choose comfortable clothes that are suitable for the temperature, etc.
  2. I'm assessing my condition. It is important that nothing bothers me physically or psychologically. For example, if I know that something important awaits me in the afternoon, then in the first half of the day it can be very difficult to concentrate on work tasks. If I’m hungry or haven’t had enough sleep, then I won’t be able to enter the flow either. Accordingly, after assessing the condition, I do everything possible to improve it (if it is satisfactory) or maintain it (if it is good).
  3. I choose a task and tune in to it, as if trying it on myself. I recall from my experience or imagine events related to the topic of the article. Sometimes I get inspired by stories on forums. It is extremely important to generate personal interest.
  4. I write the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps later I will delete this sentence or paragraph altogether, maybe I will insert it at the beginning of the article or at the very end - it doesn’t matter. The main thing is to start. And then everything happens by itself.

What does flow state feel like? You switch off and then switch on. In the process of work, the sense of time and space disappears. It's like you turn into a machine. But quite a reasonable and creative machine. A bunch of thoughts are born in your head that you don’t have time to write, let alone formulate. Something flies out, then flies in again, one thing gives way to another. You say something out loud, something is reflected in your facial expressions. Along with your thoughts, the pictures in your head change. It’s as if you are living here and now everything you write about.

What follows after the article is written and you “turn on”? On the one hand, you feel satisfied and inspired. On the other hand, you feel like a squeezed lemon. Operating in a flow state requires much more energy than operating in a normal operating state. But fatigue can and should also be fought. I give myself a little rest, stretch, use a massage pillow, hide my eyes under a sleep mask, drink coffee, and then return to the article.

All that remains is to correct everything written, enter the remaining keys and complete the registration. All this happens outside the flow and requires great volitional efforts. Here I use the following rule: without being distracted, we do the remaining work, and then with a clear conscience we go about our business. Sometimes I put it off until another day, because after leaving the stream there is almost no energy left.

I like to work in a state of flow, but it’s not always possible to get into it. I have already learned to work with schedules and planning, but sometimes problems still arise with creating suitable conditions for entering the flow.

Proper nutrition to stay fit

Diet and a balanced menu are the most important factors that require constant attention. To maintain physical fitness, you need to follow a proper diet. If you can’t work out the menu on your own, then specialist nutritionists and a convenient service for athletes and others are at your service.

For those who conduct independent training

Not only athletes train, but also people who want to stay in shape. Some prefer running, others prefer gymnastics. It is recommended to record self-monitoring data in a diary, but it is somewhat different from that of an athlete. Namely, it reflects not only the results and reactions of the body, but also information about quiet periods. Self-control allows you to cultivate not only self-discipline, but also other positive human qualities.

Control over the functioning of blood vessels and the heart

When enduring sports physical activity, you need to monitor your general condition. After all, this is the response of the functions of organs and systems to the activation of muscle work. Particularly important is the change in parameters of breathing, cardiac and vascular systems. Performance mainly depends on heart rate (HR).

( 1 rating, average 5 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends:
For any suggestions regarding the site: [email protected]
Для любых предложений по сайту: [email protected]