It is unlikely that we will always have a life that is out of control. What we need to do is to make the time of having self-control longer and the days of being out of control shorter.

6 min readMar 15, 2022


Article | Ye Xiaojian 葉小鍵

### What is self-control?

One Saturday afternoon, I made an appointment with my children to do my homework after watching a cartoon program. In the end, we only watched cartoons and did not do our homework.

Sometimes we know we have to go to work tomorrow, but we still catch up with the show until early in the morning, and we don’t want to put the phone down.

On holidays, when I want to get up early to write, when the alarm goes off, I want to sleep for another 10 minutes, and when I wake up again, it’s already 3 hours later.

When I reflect on these things, I feel that when we want to do something, we are essentially controlling the rhythm or mastering the progress, and self-control is the ability to master this.

Some things can only be done at a certain time, and after that time, it becomes much more difficult to execute them, and with self-control, you can finish things within the time.

The opposite of self-control is procrastination or the inability to control our emotions, allowing us to make the wrong decisions. Self-control is taking back control of yourself.

### Why is self-control important?

I’ve always been about 15 kg overweight and would like to adjust my weight through my eating habits. What I can do immediately is to eat only half of my current diet for all three meals. For example, if I was eating two buns for breakfast, I would just eat one.

I did this for a period of time, and I did it about 60% of the time. After I received the medical report, I seriously said to myself: I can do this thing, about a month or so, down to about 20% of the diet out of control, the other 80% of the time, all do eat half of the diet.

From this incident, I can see that self-control is an ability to adjust my actions through my mind and cognition, so that I can achieve what I want to do.

The reason why the controller doesn’t work is because there is no electricity or it is faulty, but the common denominator is that the function fails and you can’t switch to the channel you want.

Self-control is like a TV remote control, you can choose to watch that TV channel. If you want to change the channel, you have to let the remote control work properly. It is also like the last egg of a movie, where time pushes the script forward.

Self-control is a change of mind, a dialogue with your inner self, so that in reality, you can go from wanting to getting time and life.

### What do I have to do in life or work?

In the book [Self-Control](, author Kelly McGonigal offers some ways I’ve used to get some help at work and in life to get my self-control back and get the remote control working again.

It is unlikely that we will always have an out-of-control life, but what we need to do is to make the time of having self-control longer and the days of being out of control shorter.

##### 1- Meditation

I think meditation is an important entrance to reflection and introspection, a mechanism that allows the brain to automatically assemble.

Before going to bed, sit relaxed in bed and let your brain think about what happened today, what I did well, what I could have done better, and how to improve it.

Or just let your mind go.

I think meditation is a way to change your thoughts into meaningful or purposeful thoughts, to let your mind think about something, or like a movie replay, to take a snapshot of it in real time.

Some people review their work, look for problems, and come up with solutions. In a way, this is another kind of meditation, allowing your mind to help you accomplish something.

Meditation can take 2–3 minutes, either after you wake up or before you go to bed.

##### 2-Breathing

> Tell you a quick way to improve your willpower: lower your breathing rate to 4–6 breaths per minute, that is, take 10–15 seconds per breath, and breathe more slowly than usual.

I use the frequency, there are currently two, the following two to complete a breath in the range of 11–16 seconds.

1. Inhale for 4 seconds, stop for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, stop for 4 seconds.
2. inhale for 5 seconds, stop for 1 second and exhale for 5 seconds.

Pay attention to your breathing, use this action to slow down the rhythm, calm your mind, let your heart be like a boat on the sea, calm, just a boat, enjoy the moment.

I think getting up early or before going to bed, or if you want to focus on certain moments.

Sometimes the breath can be used as a guide before meditation, for example, if you are taking an escalator up or down a flight of stairs, there is a small flat section at the beginning that has a guiding effect.

##### 3 — Change to natural foods such as nuts

The body is overweight, resulting in poor physical strength, always want to exercise, but have been unable to find the time, can only think about it. Although fried and sweet food is delicious, but daily consumption will cause a burden on the body, if we can not simply stop, we can choose alternative options, such as eating natural foods, such as nuts.

Diet can be an important part of changing habits, so let’s start with eating natural foods and less processed foods.

For example, I used to eat a cookie or a chocolate before eating a meal. So sometimes I would replace the chocolate or biscuit with a nut.

We have to replace them to stop, which is easier to do.

##### 4-Remind yourself with questions

> When you know you should do something but are putting it off, instead of asking yourself, “Do I want to do it today or tomorrow?” Instead, ask yourself, “Do I want to bear the consequences of procrastinating forever?” ___ “[Self-Control](

Good questions can give you a good quality of life, and when we want to improve something, good questions can lead to the right solution. We sometimes encounter problems in our lives, and we say to ourselves, “Although I have a report due tomorrow, I’ll type it up later, or I’ll get up early to do it, but for now I’d like to relax.

Use questions to get a reason.

We can use questions to change the direction of our thinking: I want to get up early to do the report, but what will happen if I don’t get up in the morning and I can’t turn in the report? Is this a problem I can take on?

Sometimes we don’t want to do it because we’re not sure or we don’t know what’s going to happen.

For example, I want to be concealed, but this fry and coke is really delicious, and with the TV show, it’s really a little happy. I thought, “Exercise is for tomorrow or I’ll eat and exercise more later.

However, the real situation is that when I have eaten enough, I want to rest and do not want to exercise. One day when I was watching TV and I wanted to go buy some fried food to go with the coke, I asked myself this question.

Do you care about your weight and do you want to lose it?

Use the question to calm yourself down, so that you do not lose your mind, have some space, so that you can think about it. Do not lose control and let your emotions control you and not be able to do what is good for you.

Self-control is built on top of problems.

Translated with (free version)




Writer and Thinker