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Ever had the following question in your mind?
“One cookie wouldn’t hurt, right? You could just burn it off with extra time on the treadmill!”

The answer to this question depends on the “Self Regulation” theory. It is term is derived from psychology. One can define it as a system of conscious personal management that helps us control what we think, say and do. It assists us in becoming the person we want to be, in both short- and long-term situations.

We all would agree to the fact that – “What we want is not always good for us”. Desires which are short-term and related urges make us act without thinking or on an sudden impulse, but these actions definitely have a longer-term impact. Also, to implement a good advice from a doctor to take regular walks, needs self-discipline. in a previous article, we spoke about the Kaizen philosophy which encourages continuous change
It all boils down to what we believe in and what we think. Generally, religions and families provides certain guidelines and advice on proper conduct, thought and rules. The theory advises to put our efforts in controlling our thinking- What we say and what we do. One should try to be the person we always wanted to be, both in short-term and longer-term.

Self regulation

Self-regulation is generally required when there is a motivational conflict.E.g. Should I run away from the fire or should i rescue victims of the fire?

SRT is applied in the following situations :

Impulse control – Preventing careless actions and financial issues by acting impulsively.

Illusion of control – People who are led by internal goals tend to exercise control over others. They seek control even in places which are beyond them. This leads to a stressful situation. To cope up with this feeling, they start having illusions of control.

Goal attainment and motivation – One can use this theory to regulate their daily chores and habits to meet a certain goal.

Sickness behavior 

There are 4 components of Self-Regulation ( Baumeister et al, 2007)

Standards: Of desirable behaivor.
Motivation: To meet standards.
Monitoring: Of situations and thoughts that precede breaking standards.
Willpower: Internal strength to control urges.

We may not succeed in performing a particular task, partly because we also have to attend to other things or maybe because regulating our own self is tiring.

It requires huge amount of impulse control and the curbing of short-term desires. People with low impulse control prone to acting on immediate desires. Such people who tend to bend on the violent side are the ones who end up finding their way to jail! Many criminal acts occur in the spur of the moment impulsively.
For people who are non-violent by nature, it can lead to losing companions or friends through careless outbursts of anger, or financial issues caused by making impulsive purchases.


Application :

Controlling the impulse control involves the separation of the immediate impulses and long-term desires. Thus, immediate impulses should be observed and evaluated. One should learn to refrain from doing things one will regret in the long-term.

An individual’s emotional well-being is dependent on strengthening actions. Whenever, one neglects the core values, it results in guilt and in turn, undermines well-being.One should always be aware of their abilities and limitations. Overestimating own ability to control events results in disappointments and anger.

Also people who have poor self-regulatory skills cannot hold jobs, perform tasks or meet deadlines. VComply acts as an enabler to self regulate as well as regulate actions of others in the company by providing intelligent reminders and reporting features to the user.

Sayette (2004) has describes failures in self-regulation in two categories:

Under regulation – Under regulation is when people fail to control oneself
Misregualtion.- having control but does not bring up the desired goal

To avoid this mishaps one should adopt any new and powerful technology which is built to manage, verify , analyse and monitor important tasks.  Thus. this theory can be useful to all kinds of companies which are trying to deal with change and are finding it difficult to implement a new process in the organization.

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