How to Master Self-Control

I’ve got a quick story for you: A young mother went to the grocery store with her young daughter. As they are strolling down the cookie aisle, the girl spots a bag of cookies she wants. The mother says ‘no’. Instantly, the little girl falls out in a tantrum, crying and screaming for the cookies. The mother sighs uncomfortably. Her daughter has just been diagnosed with diabetes. The mother knows that the cookies are not good for her daughter’s condition. Yet, she wants to please her daughter and above all, wants her to be quiet. So the mother goes ahead and buys the cookies anyway. She gives her daughter a few in the car to pacify her on the way home.

Now, let’s look at the same situation with a different mother and daughter. When the 2nd girl falls out in the aisle crying and screaming for the cookies, the mother also remembers the girl’s diabetic condition. She doesn’t like saying ‘no’ to her daughter either and yet she says ‘no’ in spite of the discomfort because she realizes that she must protect her daughter from herself. She says ‘no’ out of love.

Which do you think was the better parent? I think that you would agree that the second parent was better because she set boundaries for her child based on what was best for her long-term rather than what was just easy or felt good in the moment.

Consider that every day, you make dozens of choices that affect your health. In that role, you are like a parent. But you also have a child living inside of you. Children are only concerned with getting what they want right now. They don’t have the mental capacity to consider long-term consequences.

Mastering a spirit of self control requires deciding to become loving and responsible parent for yourself, like the 2nd parent in the story. Your “child” is never going to change at the core level. Your child will always want to do what is quick, easy, and feels good in the moment. Many people’s health destinies are being written right now by poor daily choices because the child is in control.

One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 25:28:

‘Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.’

When you lack self control in any area, you leave yourself open to all kinds of enemies, especially poor health.

So how can you turn things around if you have been a poor parent in terms of self control? Here are some principles to help you become a loving, responsible parent. The truth is that you already have the spirit of self control within since it is a Fruit of the Spirit of life in Christ. You just have to learn how to use it.

1. Don’t fight any unnecessary battles. A key principle of martial arts is “The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place.” In the story, the mother could have avoided the daughter’s drama by not even going down the cookie aisle! Are you constantly exposing yourself to areas of weakness and hoping to come up with the willpower to resist them later? Big mistake. Set up boundaries in your environment to protect yourself from your weaknesses as much as possible.

2. Stay calm and balanced. Most of the time, we act in destructive ways when we are stressed or in emotional pain. Learn the art of calming yourself down through deep breathing. One breathing technique I practice when I am upset is the 4-2-8 breath. You breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for two counts, and breathe out for eight counts. Making your ‘breathing out’ longer than ‘breathing in’ automatically calms you down so you can think clearly.

It is also important that you keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Read labels and stay away from sugared drinks or any food that has more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Also, be sure to eat several small, healthy meals each day. If you don’t do these two things, you could be vulnerable to blood sugar crashes and you may not be able to think clearly enough to make wise decisions.

3. Always ask yourself, “What is best for me in the long run?” with every decision. This will give you a reality check so that you can know which is the best choice, not just what is the easy choice.

4. Act from wisdom, not from ease. Once you have determined what is best in the long run, watch your thoughts, mental pictures, and words. If these are not in line with that best decision, then change them so they become so. This can be challenging because your brain’s default setting is probably in line with the child’s desires right now rather than the loving parent. So you need to switch to the loving parent setting, take your thoughts captive, and diligently line them up with your new decision.

Then, act on your better decision. The great news is that even though your child will still act like a child, she will soon learn that the parent is now in charge. If you are consistent, she will soon learn that tantrums don’t get her anywhere and will stop fighting your attempts to change. But again, don’t waver. Be willing to live with the discomfort of saying ‘no’ to yourself. That feeling is only temporary, but once you begin to master the spirit of self control, you will gain a greater sense of self-respect, which will make a positive impact in all other areas of your life.

And if you want to learn 7 other mental techniques to increase your self control and reach your health goals faster than ever before, then check out my Take Back Your Temple program. I guarantee it is one of the wisest self-parenting decisions you will ever make.

Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor

Creator of the Take Back Your Temple program

P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it?

I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered that “Nothing is different until you think differently.” – Pastor James MacDonald

The value of the Take Back Your Temple program is that you will learn how to think differently through using Biblical keys to overcome obstacles. You’ll discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes us to become inconsistent and get off-track on our weight loss journey.

Join a community of like-minded Christians losing weight and keep it off.

Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program

About the author 

Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly Taylor is a certified Christian life coach and has a heart to help others struggling with emotional eating and weight loss. Once 240 pounds and a size 22, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power to overcome. She lost 85 pounds as a result of implementing techniques to overcome emotional eating and binge eating disorder.

Kim is the author of "The Take Back Your Temple Program," which teaches Christians how to take control of their weight God's way and the books "The Weight Loss Scriptures" and "The Weight Loss Prayers."

Kim has been featured in Prevention Magazine, Charisma Magazine and on CBN’s 'The 700 Club' television program.

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