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Cultivating Skills That Increase Self-Control


Trying to control our actions does not lead to increased self-control; however, we can put effort into cultivating the skills that are the foundation of self-control.

Research has shown that practicing self-awareness and self-care, as well as reminding ourselves what we value, enhances the ability to choose our actions.

"These three skills – self-awareness, self-care, and remembering what matters most – are the foundation for self-control.” said Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It.

Let these quotes inspire you to cultivate self-awareness and self-care, and to spend time and energy on what matters to you.


“...for greater self control, the science points to one thing: the power of paying attention.” ~ Kelly McGonigal

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ C.G. Jung

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” ~ Hermann Hesse

“It takes courage ... to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ~ Marianne Williamson

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ~ Pema Chodron


“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” ~ Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Do something every day that is loving toward your body and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sensations of your body.” ~ Golda Poretsky

“By your thoughts you are daily, even hourly, building your life; you are carving your destiny.” ~ Ruth Barrick Golden

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.” ~ Alanis Morissette

What Matters

“Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” ~ Aesop

“What matters. Are you a good person? Do you have any love in your heart? What would you do in a given circumstance? It all comes down to something like that.” ~ Tom Lichtenberg, Time Zone

“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death – ourselves.” ~ Eda LeShan

“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl

“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset