At some point, we will believe that we have the goals and tools necessary to do the thing that we need to do. Execution and commitment will then be required to complete the task, achieve the goal, or enact the change that we believe is important. It is the ability to do what we say we will do and stick at this task that distinguishes us from others. We have all heard the expression 'if you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk'. Learning about self-regulation is learning to walk, learning to keep on The Pathway to Excellence.
It starts with a belief in our ability. We need to have confidence in our self-efficacy and capacity to achieve what we set out to do before we get started. We need to look to the markers of our past performance, the cohesion of our practices and the character and competencies we hold in our present. These will remind us of our ability to achieve things, and reinforce in our minds the methods that are most likely to work to this end. We should, therefore, assert that we can do it while we reflect on how we are going to do it.
Self-regulation relies heavily on our ability to manage our time and ourselves. Whether our parameters are set by us or by some external entity, all of our tasks have explicit and implicit due dates which define the limitations of the timeline that we have to work within. We then must start planning. We identify what needs to be done, in what order we need to do it, and what information and resources we will need. Allocating each piece of work so that task matches time allows us to define the scope and sequence that will confirm the sense of mastery, autonomy, and purpose we need to remain motivated along the way. It is then a matter of execution and evaluation of our progress; getting up and doing what needs to be done so we stay on track, as well as recording the achievement of our milestones. This is where self control and good practice comes into play. We need to recognise when we are doing good work and when we are not. We need to hold ourselves accountable to the process we have designed and understand which of our behaviours are helping us move forward and which are holding us back. We need to be able to regulate our emotions in the light of this experience so that we can promote positive behaviours and delay the impulse to act on less productive behaviours.