Self Control


Have you given in to temptation recently? Eat that Snickers bar when you know you shouldn’t have? Collapse on the couch instead of hitting the gym? Watch one more Netflix episode instead of going to bed early? Sadly, we’ve all been there. And your students are faced with similar, if not greater, self-control challenges throughout the day. The last thing you want near exam time is a student giving in to the temptation of one more game of Fortnite, looking at one more Instagram post or watching one more ‘Greatest Fails’ video on YouTube instead of getting their head down to study.

Research carried out by renowned psychologists Dr Martin Seligman and Dr Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania found that a major reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential was their failure to exercise self-control. In their insightful study they found that self-control was two times better than IQ at predicting ‘final grades, school attendance, hours spent doing homework, hours spent watching television (inversely), and the time of day students began their homework.’1

The ability to exert greater self-control and delay gratification has been shown to make us better able to manage stress, deal with conflict and overcome difficulties.2 Those who have greater self-control are shown to be happier and healthier, make better leaders and have more successful careers.2,3

The good news is that the science says strategies to increase self-control can be easily learned for tremendous benefits to your students.

Self-control (45 min-1 hour)

In this seminar your students will learn:

  • 1

    The science of self-control - what self-control is and why it’s so important.

  • 2

    The famous Marshmallow test and its significance.

  • 3

    The finite nature of willpower and what that means for us.

  • 4

    How self-control varies through the day.

  • 5

    Common actions and situations that sap our self-control and how to prevent them.

  • 6

    Creating awareness of situations that take a toll on our self-control.

  • 7

    How to avoid self-control fatigue.

  • 8

    The best times to schedule studying to avoid self-control conflict.

  • 9

    Five proven, effective strategies to boost willpower instantly and in the long term.


1. Duckworth, A. L., and M. E. Seligman. “Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents.” Psychological Science 16 (2005): 939–44

2. Tangney, J. P., R. F. Baumeister, and A. L. Boone. “High Self-Control Predicts Good Adjustment, Less Pathology, Better Grades, and Interpersonal Success.” Journal of Personality 72 (2004): 271–324. See also Kern, M. L., and H. S. Friedman. “Do Conscientious Individuals Live Longer? A Quantitative Review.” Health Psychology 27 (2008): 505–12

3. Kirkpatrick, S. A., and E. A. Locke. “Leadership: Do Traits Matter?” Academy of Management Executive 5 (1991): 48–60.