THE JOURNEY TOWARDS MASTERY: SELF-REGULATION
Self-regulation relies as much on your ability to manage your time as it does your ability to manage yourself. Whether your parameters are set by you or by someone or something else, all of your goals, projects and tasks have due dates which define the limitations of your timeline. You need to plan and work within these boundaries. You need to identify what needs to be done, in what order you need to do it, and what information and resources you will need. You need to allocate each piece of work to a specific period of time so that tasks match time. This will allow you to define your scope and sequence.
And then you need to get stuck into the work and get it done!
Building a track record of commitment to the goal and execution of the plan will help you to develop the sense of mastery, autonomy, and purpose you need to remain motivated along the way. You then need to track and evaluate your progress, record the achievement of your milestones, and reward yourself appropriately along the way. If you play to your strengths, you can build your capacity to adhere to the task at hand. This process – regardless of which area of your life you found yourself using it for – will require you to make temporary sacrifices for long-term reward.
This is where self-control and judgment come into play. You need to recognise when you are doing good work and when you are not. You need to hold yourself accountable to the process you have designed. You need to understand which of your behaviours are helping you move forward and do more of them. Likewise, you need to identify which behaviours are holding you back and try to cut them out altogether. You also need to be able to regulate your emotions in the light of this experience so that you can promote positive behaviours and delay the impulse to act on less productive behaviours.
Leaning into the resources you have around you is also important. You should bring in other people to support you with your plan. If you give them an idea of your process and goals, you can create a means for supervision and external accountability that can help you to build good habits. Good habits in time will help you to shape your own internal motivation – this will be the most powerful driver of your self-regulation in the long run. The more disciplined you are, the better you will feel about yourself and the more likely you will be to keep running towards the prize. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have the resilience to overcome setbacks and to frame mistakes as opportunities to learn?
- Am I developing my sense of self-efficacy as I develop my goals, pursue my ambitions, and learn how to adapt to change and uncertainty?
- Do I have good time-management and work habits and do I continue to refine and improve these to meet new expectations, standards and challenges that I will encounter?
- Am I prepared to make sacrifices today in order to gain success and achieve my career goals?
- Do I control my reactions to difficulties, tensions, and disagreements with others and find ways to strengthen productive collaboration?
STEPPING FORWARD AND UP WITH SELF-REGULATION
In the end, self-regulation is about knowing how you learn. It's about recognising your emotions and responding constructively to them. It’s about the self-awareness and self-mastery needed to postpone instant pleasure in the pursuit of a longer-term objective. Are you ready to make a difference? Let’s go!