Why Is Self-Control Important?

self-control-important Credit: The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Having some degree of self-control, also called willpower, is important for allowing people to maintain healthy lifestyles, such as engaging in regular exercise, controlling food intake and working harder. Willpower affects many areas of life, including personal decisions, social interactions and conduct in social settings like school and the workplace. Self-control, along with intelligence, is considered by psychologists to be two key human traits that produce many benefits for people and others around them.

Having willpower empowers people to make immediate and long-term decisions that ultimately impact their quality of life, and can help or hamper their efforts to be more productive and disciplined. Willpower can also help to reduce many issues plaguing the broader society, such as addiction to drugs, overeating, domestic abuse, prejudice, excess expenditures and lowered performance in school or at work. Although some people have higher levels of willpower than others, this trait can be learned and practiced by engaging in certain activities. Building willpower often happens by taking one step at a time, and begins with making smart decisions and abstaining from activities and situations that reduce, or deplete, innate levels of self-control. Willpower can be derived from basic activities, such as using the left hand rather than right hand to open doors and jars, as well as establishing long-term plans to improve financial management and reduce frivolous expenses.