Each day, you have the choice to take control of your life or to let it control you. You can choose to be proactive, or you can be reactive. To take control of your life, or exercise personal leadership, is to take responsibility for yourself and every area of your life. It means being connected with your values and vision and setting meaningful goals for yourself. When you take control, you become more productive and more optimistic. You can tackle and solve problems more easily, and ultimately experience less stress in your life. No one is in control of your happiness but you, therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change. (Barbara de Angelis)
One way you can have intelligent control of your life is to stop procrastinating. From the story, inside the mind of a master procrastinator, we were made to understand that the brains of procrastinators are different from non-procrastinators. The brain of a non-procrastinator and a procrastinator has a Rational Decision-maker in them, but the procrastinator also has the Instant Gratification Monkey.
The Instant Gratification Monkey lives entirely in the present moment. He has no memory of the past and no knowledge of the future. He only cares about ease and fun. The Rational Decision-maker gives us the ability to do things no other animal can do. We can visualize the future, we can make long-term plans. The Rational Decision-maker would have us do whatever makes sense to be doing right now.
Instant gratification can be in form of pleasurable food, the riches of the Internet, video games, TV, drink, online shopping, or anything we want, anytime we want it. No limits, no restraints. This way leads to debt, clutter, bad health, distractions, and mindlessness.
Everyone is procrastinating on something in their life. Stay away from The Instant Gratification Monkey. Manage your time, and priorities, set clear boundaries, and have self-control. Also, learn how to control your emotions and thoughts.
Training your self-control is often not enough to establish it, because our brains are not fully wired to resist our urges at all times (we wouldn’t be having them then), which is why you need to remove the urge to help yourself establish some discipline. For example, if you know that you have to work, but you feel like watching just another episode of that Netflix show, install a website blocker and restrict yourself from using Netflix for a certain number of hours.
Self-control is positively related to life satisfaction and affective well-being. They even determined the reason why this is so. Apparently, people with higher self-control are better at conflict management but also better at postponing affect and stress reactions. Self-control seems to be able to boost our well-being because it helps us avoid frequent conflicts and contribute to our happiness as it helps us solve motivational conflicts (e.g. should I go to a party now or study?).