Self-Control is a Superpower, If You Learn How to Master It.

Rich Habits
If you find value in these articles, please share them with your inner circle and encourage them to Sign Up for my Rich Habits Daily Tips/Articles. No one succeeds on their own. Thank You!

When it comes to living your best life, the big elephant in the room is self-control. The more you have, the better the circumstances of your life. There have been many studies supporting this, but perhaps the best-known study was the Stanford Marshmallow Study.

Intuitively, we all know that behind many of our struggles in life, is a lack of self-control. We envy those within our inner circle who seem to possess an abundance of self-control and we persecute ourselves for not having more.

One of the reasons I am so fixated on forging good daily habits is that, once formed, good daily habits completely removes the need for self-control. You will engage in a daily habit, even when your self-control is lacking. This is because habits are controlled by a different brain region than the brain region responsible for self-control.

As part of my ongoing Rich Habits research, I have had no choice but to become somewhat expert in the science behind self-control.

Below is a snippet of some of that research:

  • Expectations Met – Self-Control is maintained when expectations are met. For example, if you engage in fasting, in order to lose weight, and the amount of weight you lose is very close to what you were hoping to lose, your level of self-control will remain the same.
  • Expectations Exceeded – Self-Control increases when expectations are exceeded. For example, if you’re engage in your fasting diet and the amount of weight you lose is greater than what you expected, your level of self-control will increase.
  • Unmet Expectations – Self-Control decreases when expectations are not met. For example, the moment your fasting diet fails to meet expectations, self-control dramatically declines.
  • Positive Emotions – Self-Control increases when you experience positive emotions. For example, when you receive compliments on losing weight from your fasting diet, you will experience positive emotions. Those positive emotions will boost your self-control, which will motivate you to keep losing weight.
  • Negative Emotions – Self-Control decreases when you experience negative emotions. For example, imagine that you’ve been doing great on your fasting diet. You’re very happy about the weight you’ve lost. Then one day, your boss reprimands you at work or is very critical of your work. This causes you to feel a number of negative emotions: fear of losing your job, anger at your boss, anger at yourself, insecurity regarding your skills/competence, etc. These negative emotions, at best, will decrease your fasting self-control and at worst, take away all self-control.

Can you control your self-control?

Yes, with respect to expectations. The key here is to lower your expectations, which increases the likelihood of meeting or exceeding those expectations. Lowering your expectations keeps you in the game, mentally.

Yes and no, with respect to emotions. Emotions emanate from the subconscious region of the brain. So, they are automatic. You can, through practice, learn to manage your emotions, by simply refusing to react to everyday stress or by finding a quiet place, where you can use deep breathing exercises to calm down your parasympathetic system, which is activated by emotions. FYI, it takes about thirty minutes for your Parasympathetic System to calm down and return to its baseline.

From personal experience, it took me about six months of daily practice to learn to become unemotional when good or bad things occur. To this day, I keep a picture of Spok, the Vulcan from Star Trek, taped to my computer monitor at my main office, car steering wheel and on my lamp at my home office. That picture is a daily reminder to me of the constant need to be vigilant in my efforts to control my emotions.



  1. Carl DANZIGER on February 13, 2022 at 7:02 AM

    Thanks for sharing ?

  2. Tushar on February 15, 2022 at 11:35 AM

    Thank you for this, Tom. I found it to be very helpful–especially about how to strategically use the concept of lowered expectations to one’s advantage.