I was looking for a reference for sun salutations last night and turned to a book called Yoga for Athletes. There were three bookmarks left in it from my last perusal, and one was on a section called “Self-study: Learning Control Through Learning Yourself.”

It seemed appropriate for the time we are in.

Self control starts with self study. If you want to regulate your mind and mental state, first, you need to be aware of it.

To do this, you must observe yourself. This is a lifelong process.

You can develop your physical, mental, intellectual, and moral qualities.

But you must look closely at yourself. And only you can do it. No one else can do the work for you.

Here are a sequence of ideas to help with self control.

Read biographies of successful people. There is something about digging into someone else’s life that can help you case a more critical life on your own. Other people have faced challenges and situations just like yours. Did they do better? How?

The right attitude. Man, this is everything. What is your attitude towards what you’re doing? Your life? PMA. Channel P. Be positive.

Setting goals. You need to have something to aim towards. Don’t just set goals for finances, but include goals for behavioral development, diet, and sleep.

Keep a journal. This is an awareness tool. How do you react to certain situations? What is your stress level?

You might have something blocking your progress and be totally unaware. A journal can help you uncover it over time.

Record your daily routine. Echoing a former Navy Seal here, “Awareness. Just be aware.” Most people go through life mechanically. Record things down. Get to know yourself and what is going on in your mind.

You might find that your routine is just causing some issues. You might be able to rearrange it. But if you don’t think about it, it won’t enter your awareness.

Learn your body language. I know I’m tired when I start having a hard time controlling my body and certain thought patterns come back. I begin seeking stimulation. It might be snacking or worse.

What I should do is probably take a nap or just sit and chill. Not always easy, but it will lead to increased performance.

You can think of general and specific body sensations. Your breathing, tension in muscles. Are you relaxed or tense?

Observe your sensations in specific situations. Before a call or a meeting. Before leaving for work. While driving, and so on.

Misplaced activity and nervous habits. Do you have nervous habits that burn up your energy? Tapping your feet, shaking your leg, pacing, gum chewing. Email checking, Facebook scrolling, and random phone pick ups go into this category as well.

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Digging in deep into yourself can have great rewards. Jim Rohn always said to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Why? Because you—your self—is more fundamental than the work you do.

If you straighten yourself out, you’ll be more effective at work, more caring as a spouse, and more loving as a parent. In other words, you’ll be better all around.

Now especially, the media companies are trying to steal your attention. Netflix commands you to binge watch, and the news wants you to immerse yourself in what Bill Mahur calls disaster porn.

Those things won’t make you more effective.

But the things above will.

Reference: Yoga for Athletes by Aladar Kohler, PH.D