For many people, self-control is the one skill they lack the most. A recent study that included the 50 U. S. States and over 50 other countries asked people to list their character strengths. Out of all the traits, self-control came last.

What is self-control?

It’s the ability to control how you feel, react to situations, and comport yourself. When you lack self-control, it creates enormous problems and makes it challenging to stay on track with what you want for your life.

Why is Self-Control So Important?

The American Psychological Association conducted research that helps us identify the power of self-control. The survey, called “2011 Stress in America,” uncovered that more than 25% of the respondents related a lack of willpower for tasks related to goal achievement.

People admitted that one major factor holding them back from achieving their goals was a lack of self-control.

On the bright side, however, over 70% said they didn’t consider self-control as an innate skill. Respondents believed they could learn and strengthen their discipline.

So what can you do when you find that you lack self-control, but you can’t afford to lose focus?

Consider these ideas:

Consider the broader picture

When you lack self-control and discipline, it’s easy to become frustrated. You tend to focus on the problem or what’s missing in a given area of your life.

The key is to switch gears and consider the bigger picture. When you can see how your problem impacts others, you’re more likely to regain control and become willing to make changes.

Take a few minutes to exercise your body

You don’t need a gym membership or a strict exercise routine. Even something as simple as a brisk walk can do the trick.

Exercise stimulates the brain and helps you feel more energized and focused. It also has the power to strengthen your self-control and self-discipline, which are two vital skills for a healthy life.

Regardless of the exercise regimen you choose, always remain consistent.

Track your progress

Is it hard for you to stick with a diet? People often try to lose weight but revert to their old habits. Tracking your progress can help you stay on track and keep you motivated.

If you need a coach or mentor, find someone who will keep you accountable.

In addition, always keep in mind that small steps lead to significant changes in the end.

Do not expect perfection from yourself

People with high emotional intelligence know that perfection does not exist. Thus, they don’t set out to be perfect.

The reality is, people are fallible by nature. When you try to achieve perfection, you’ll always come up short. You’ll spend time weeping over your failures and what you think you should’ve done. Instead of moving forward, you may also give up on your goals or merely run in place.

Your best bet is to set reasonable goals and always keep in mind that trying your best is enough.

Keep your eyes on the prize

What are your goals? If it helps, write them down and share them with a friend or a life coach.

Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus when you don’t achieve results fast enough. However, if you remind yourself of your ultimate objective and keep in mind that lasting change takes time, you’ll be more likely to stay on track.

If you feel like you lack self-control or discipline, consider what you can do to make changes. And remember that your best bet is to set reasonable goals and never lose sight of the progress you are making.

If self-control is what’s holding you back from achieving your goals, the time has come for a change.