This article originally appeared in Tips on Life & Love from Simon & Schuster.
How many times have you told yourself to take a deep breath and count to 10? It’s not easy to learn patience—and it may well be one of the most difficult personal qualities to master. Here are some surefire strategies to exercise more self-control (or at very least, acceptance), from Make Yourself Unforgettable: How to Become the Person Everyone Remembers and No One Can Resist, by Dale Carnegie Training.
Know the difference between the things you control, the things you can influence, and the things over which you have no control or influence. Spend the bulk of your time and attention on the things that you control. This is where you can make the biggest difference. Spend your remaining time and attention on the things you can influence, knowing things may not go your way. Let go of the things over which you have no control or influence. Time or attention spent on those is just wasted.
Live one day at a time. Treat each day as a treasured gift because that is exactly what it is! Yesterday is done and tomorrow has not yet arrived, so make the most of today because it is all you have to work with anyway.
Accept and forgive yourself. You are growing, learning, and changing all the time — or at least you should be. As a human being, even an unforgettable one, you will make mistakes. Get over it and get on with life. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, weaknesses, and imperfections. Learn from them and move on.
Change your point of view. Instead of beating yourself up over past mistakes, accept them as part of who you are today. Class is progress, not perfection.
Plan your life and follow your plan. Have plan B ready in case things do not go the way you expect. Otherwise you’re going to set yourself up for frustration. Nothing is more maddening than waiting for the phone to ring! If you’re in that position, you’ll probably need more patience than you’ve got. So hope for the best, but prepare for something other than the best, too.
Set big goals, then take baby steps. You can accomplish any goal by breaking it down into doable steps that keep you motivated along the way. Celebrate each time you complete a step toward your goal.
Confront your feelings about not immediately reaching your goals. Remember that the world was not created in one day. The tallest trees start out as little seeds and take years to grow into their strength and beauty. Every step you take brings you closer to the results you desire.
No worries. Worrying about tomorrow saps your energy and strength today. Instead, use that energy to work toward your goals.
Become your own best friend. You are the only person you will live with your entire life, so get to know yourself well and treat yourself as the valuable person you are.