Why does self-control matter?

There are two important types of self-control for students. Intrapersonal self-control allows them to align today's behaviors with tomorrow's goals. Interpersonal self-control allows them to maintain their temper, hold back from interrupting, and respond to others in ways that are socially appropriate.

What does self-control look like?

A student who demonstrates self-control at school might:

  • come to class prepared
  • resist procrastinating
  • remember and follow directions
  • pay attention and resist distractions

A student who demonstrates interpersonal self-control might:

  • recognize and label their emotions
  • consciously choose their response, rather than reacting with their first impulse
  • respond thoughtfully when criticized or otherwise provoked
  • actively listen to others

Teach self-control in the classroom



WOOP is a strategy for identifying and achieving wishes.


Resources about self-control

Research articles about self-control

The science and practice of self-control
Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(5), 715–718.
Duckworth, A. L. & Seligman, M. (2017).

Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: How you do it matters
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(2), 304–324.
Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., … Ayduk, O. (2014).

The power of prospection: Mental contrasting and behavior change
Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10, 591‐604.
Oettingen, G., & Reininger, K. M. (2016).