We are almost two weeks into the New Year and how are everyone’s New Year Resolutions going? Upon doing some research regarding New Year Resolutions, I found some interesting information about self-control strategies that may hopefully continue to encourage everyone in holding to their resolutions this year AND encouraging those around you. For this week, we will look at how you can help others (family, children, friends) develop appropriate skills to maintain self-control. Self-discipline is not easy and it comes with a lot of hard work. With positive encouragement and appropriate modeling, you can help those around you continue to develop their own methods of self-control.
In order to be a positive support for others, you need to build a foundation of trust. If those closest to you trust your judgment and care, they will be more likely to respond to any concerns you might have on their current level of self-control. Also, be mindful that friends, family and especially children learn emotional regulation from your modeling. Individuals are likely to follow your lead, so take a moment and reflect on your own responses to be the best influence and role-model you can. Be mindful that others can feel your anxiety. If people close to you notice your behavior is shifting and nervous tendencies develop, they are likely to respond in a similar fashion. For those encouraging young adults, adolescents and children, it is important to understand that self-control is made possible by the developing brain. Your prefrontal cortex (controls impulses) is not fully developed until you are 25. So you have time to encourage those around you to strengthen this area of the brain through practice.
Encouraging self-control of those around you will be hard, but rewarding work. Be mindful that practice makes self-control easier. People are more likely to accomplish goals that they set themselves and are more willing to practice them. Encourage your family and friends to practice the goals they would like to reach often, but know with this encouragement, you will also have to set limits. If you were asked to keep someone accountable or would like your child to follow through with goals set at home, set realistic expectations and limits to these goals. Your limits will remind people of their own goals. With limit setting, patience is key. Individuals attempting to improve self-control and reframe their behavior will experience emotional difficulties such as frustration and agitation with others. You are likely to be that individual, so be patient and process with your friend, family or child your role and how you will continue to help support their growth of self-control. Finally, be mindful that people can learn to master self-control on their own. Sometimes you might have to take a step back and let your child or friend practice what they have learned. People learn through both success and failure – all aspects of their lives.
So remember, you have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. Encourage your friends, family and children to practice self-control in all aspects of their life to obtain and achieve their short- and long-term goals. It’s not easy, but the more support we have – and give – the easier it is to develop self-control.
Keep working on those Resolutions!