Your impulses are either working for you or against you. When you’re feeling generous, your action benefits others. When you’re angry, your tendency is to lash out. When someone hurts you, you want revenge. Self-control is learning how to interrupt your impulses by connecting with your goals during those crucial moments. Create rules for how you want to behave. The desired behavior will get you one little step closer to your goal, rather than have you take a giant step back.
This is what productive members of society do. And when they’re able to methodically transform all their responses to impulses to good habits, they are optimally productive.
One rule that I have to interrupt my impulses is to plant whatever I need more of to connect me with my goal of having harmonious relationships in life. If I need more patience, then I extend patience to others. If I need more time, then I invest more quality time in loved ones. If I need more money, then I thoughtfully give more money to worthy people and causes.
One glorious thing about this rule is that the outcome is always positive, no matter the impulse, good or bad. If someone gossips about me and it really hurts my feelings or reputation, then I do not gossip in return. Rather, I say good, encouraging things about them. Or, I may just bite my tongue and extend grace.
Garbage in. Gorgeous out. I am a happier and more likable person. Consistently.
Another wonderful thing about this rule is that I’m going to reap more than I sowed. I will always get more out than what I put in. That is the law of the harvest. It won’t happen fast, but the results will come slowly and as part of a process. Eventually, I will have harmonious relationships with everyone in my life. And because I know it will take time, I am patient. I will not get tired of doing good, because if I persist, the time will come when I’ll reap my harvest.
Redefine “normal” for yourself. Set the bar for what’s good and healthy behavior. Rise above what is common or acceptable in society. Be a contrarian. Ask the questions:
- How do I want to live and feel?
- Who do I want to be?
Let the answers to these questions define the rules for your vital behaviors in response to your impulses at crucial moments. Connect with your goals by interrupting those impulses so that you can become the person you want to be and live the life you were meant to live.