Photo by Tomwsulcer; Wikimedia Commons

In a previous post, I’ve discussed how self-control training has the power to transform your life. Building up your self-control muscle (what many people think of as “discipline” or “willpower”) can help you be a better self-observer and to pause before acting impulsively. When faced with a choice between immediate pleasure and long-term benefit, your self-control muscle will allow you to pass over temptation and choose the more difficult path.

Imagine how those skills might benefit you in your financial life. If you strengthen your impulse control, it would be so much easier to save part of your paycheck instead of spending it all, to be patient with long-term investments instead of reacting to bumps in the road, and to pay off debt instead of being lured in by the more immediate pleasures that your money can procure.

Recent research has shown that your new skills in self-control will generalize to other areas of your life. For example, Oaten and Cheng (2006) have shown that a group of people who were trained in better money management not only gained better control of their spending habits, but they also became more disciplined in other areas: they became better at regulating their eating, their alcohol intake, their emotions, and their household chores.

That’s not a bad outcome for the price of a regular self-control workout!

For specific ideas on how to exercise your self-control muscle, consider checking out this week’s blog post at