I have planed my life and want to stick to it . But the problem is My self control . For example I tend to waste a lot of my time in youtube watching documentaries .

You know it starts like I 'am going to do this for only 30 minuets and then loose the rest of the day watching videos or etc.

I was wondering if meditating on my future goals could help .

And I mean doing something like imagining how it would feel if achieved my goals and then imagining the consequences of wasting my time or uncontrolled life .

Is this a good method to gain self control and achive my goals ?

Is there anything else I can do ?

7 Answers 7


Self control of gained through mastery over the mind, i.e., developing Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration in the Noble Eightfold Path.

The lack of mastery over the mind would lead to you losing the sense of time when doing this activity. One thing you can do is be aware you are are doing this and the sensation that watching videos bring. It is the feeling and sensation of excitement and the intellectual stimulation documentaries bring which keeps you doing what you are doing. If you get less attached to this you find it easy to switch to another task. So be mindful if what you are watching is perceived as or evaluate as positive (intellectually stimulating, interesting, keeping you in suspense to know more, etc.), negative or neutral and the sensations that follow which are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, maintaining utmost equanimity, and being aware of the arising and passing of what is felt (the particular sensation / feeling that is felt). [Sal-āyatana Vibhanga Sutta, Indriya Bhāvanā Sutta, Pahāna Sutta]

In addition to the above, at a more mundane level, it would be helpful the be mindful of the time as well by having a clock placed near the screen which can help you keep track of time.

  • Sila also helps to control the mind right? Sila helps to denourish remorse, doubt which are hindrances etc and get more control
    – seeker
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 7:57

No. Don't expect anything from meditation. The moment you start expecting some results like self control or universe control, you're lost. You will keep thinking of result that you desire (that is control) because the mind is such a thing. You will end up not meditating and you will end up not being peaceful. Mind should only used to help you carry out an activity in the world.

Self and Control are paradoxical terms. Don't control yourself like that. If you want to be free and watch YouTube videos, and the same you wants to also control the watching of YouTube videos, do you see how it's a paradox? You are contradicting yourself.

  • Can you explain more about "Mind should only used to help you carry out an activity in the world"
    – KFkf
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 13:19
  • I think you can both want to watch and not watch videos since the different choices have different merets . But at the end you should choose which one is the best choice . And you can make a mistake since probabily at that moment you are not completely mindful of ALL the cosequances of your action for example you are only mindful about 10 percent of what will happen . So the person makes a mistake. But when you think about it at the end and again you revaluate the choices and get the right answer .and then you know you have made a mistake so maybe being mindful and meditating CAN actualy help.
    – KFkf
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 13:28
  • If you say so. You just said it. The actions have different merits. If you really understand that, you'll do it anyway. You'll do the action with whatever merit you desire. With or without meditation. By all means, do it. Nobody is stopping you. But just don't be under the impression that it is some great supernatural power that you will manifest and you will get so called control. That's all I am saying.
    – esh
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 5:54
  • You're just adding layers by taking meditation as a separate entity. You can meditate by simply doing your necessary tasks. There is truly nothing to try in meditation. It just is.
    – esh
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 7:08

It sounds like mindfulness would be more useful to you than meditation. Mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment, and it is often assisted with things like a "mindfulness bell" at certain intervals, to help remind you to come back to the present.

I have known insight meditation in combination with mindfulness to yield some good results in staying grounded in the present, as it will give you insight into the working of your mind and help resolve some of the root causes of your distraction.

You should also investigate the 'perfection' of viriya. This is one of the ten perfections of Mahayana Buddhism, it is the art of acting with vigour and using strenuous effort to overcome unskillful ways, such as overindulgence in sensual things, ill will and other problems. There are sutra's on how to stay focussed and how to spark energy in you if you are overcome with lethargy and mindlessness.


Meditation will help you better focus on important/meaningful goals that will do good in your life. Meditation helps an individual in many ways, they can reduce their stress, anger, hatred, even helps you to study well. In your case, according to your problem you can do Vipassana Meditation, it will really help you. You have to really think and meditate concentrating on your goal and should be done in a quiet environment.


Yes. It is possible to gain self-control through meditation & it is a good method. Even I started just like you had trouble in the start but it pays off at the end.

The best way to get an answer to any question is to ask yourself questions. In this case ask yourself what do like to do in below cases?
1) You have a port in which only 1 ship can dock and two ships want to dock at your port out of which one is good ship which is friendly & will bring peace & if other docks then it will spoil or damage your port. So which ship you will allow?
2) There are two hungry wolves. One wolf is friendly & always assists you in daily life and other wolf is dangerous & unpredictable. Which wolf will you feed?
3) Would you like to be on a boat which has no map route, no controller to guide it and no destination in mind.
Mind is just like the port where we have good & bad thoughts, ego, envy, jealousy,etc. Its upon us to decide what should be allowed to anchored at our port(i.e. mind), same goes for the wolf case. So there's no question if its a good method or not. Its totally personal preference & how good you practice it. Self-control is really beneficial for growth & goal achievements.

Doing meditation can help you in many ways:
1) Help you living in the present & stopped worrying about past & future(which is a great feeling if you experience it).
2) Knowing what's happening around.
3) Having sense of time while doing things.
4) You begin to see, hear, feel, realize those things which you haven't experienced before.
5) Being able to focus on a task undistracted for hours with productivity being greater than those times when being distracted.


I think it's helpful to know that Buddhism is described as a "threefold training" -- virtue, mind, and wisdom.

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If meditation is mostly "mind", perhaps self-control is more to do with "virtue".

They are related but it is worth knowing that there is more to Buddhism than only meditation.

One of the things that will eventually help self-control is "wisdom" (right view): when you (more or less correctly) "view" the worth or worthlessness, the benefit or non-benefit, of a behaviour (e.g. of "waste a lot of my time in youtube watching documentaries") then you might modify that behaviour ... because you'll want to do more of what's beneficial and less of what it isn't.

Self-control is related to "virtue". The five precepts are (just) a beginning in terms of what's virtuous ... all necessary but maybe not sufficient. For laypeople there are suttas which describe what a virtuous lay life can look like (e.g. the Sigalovada Sutta and others) -- activity that's contrary to these suggestions (for example, "compulsive gambling") is probably un-virtuous (and regrettable) even though it doesn't break one of the five precepts.

Virtue might be related to meditation. I've read that when you start to meditate, you'll be disturbed if you're not virtuous: that it's important to get the "virtue" part of the practice happening in your life, perhaps even before you meditate. So maybe it's not that virtue (including self-control) results from meditation, it's that virtue enables meditation. Maybe the causal chain is more (approximately) like this:

  • Virtue (having done right, and developing self-control) enables Mind (meditation)
  • Mind (meditation) helps to change your views and reactions e.g. Wisdom
  • Wisdom (right view) helps to cause beneficial behaviour and self-control i.e. Virtue

I have found this sutta helpful, Kimattha Sutta: What is the Purpose?

  • "What is the purpose of skillful virtues? What is their reward?"
  • "Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, Ananda, and freedom from remorse as their reward."
  • "And what is the purpose of freedom from remorse? What is its reward?"
  • "Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward."
  • Etc.

If something causes you remorse ("I wish I didn't waste a lot of my time in youtube watching documentaries, I regret having wasted it") then you might think something like, "This is remorse ... and instead of feeling this remorse again in future, to gain freedom from remorse, t would be better to develop the 'skillful virtue' of practicing more beneficial activities instead." When the occasion arises again, you might remember, "If I start watching youtube again as I did before then I will eventually feel remorse again, so make a different decision (do something different instead of falling into a repeat of that regrettable behaviour) this time."

Furthermore, apart from meditation there are mundane tools you could choose to use to affect your worldly behaviour. If you want to wake early, for example, you can use an alarm clock. If you don't want to watch youtube you can configure your computer to block connections to youtube. You might find it easier or helpful to avoid entering a situation where bad/addictive behaviour is an option/temptation.

Also (and I know this wasn't the question you were asking) but "I have planned my life and want to stick to it" could possibly be a mistake ... it might imply ego, and attachment, and self-view (see the answers to this question).

Another reason it might be a mistake: imagine a child who says, "I have planned my life and want to stick to it"! Being a child, they don't know. Similarly if/while we're unenlightened then we don't know.

Another reason it might be a mistake: the situation that we're in changes, and is to some extent outside our control. So a plan that's made for today might not be so appropriate/applicable tomorrow.


Is it possible to use meditation to gain Self control?

I would like to define the words meditation and 'Self control' before answering the question.

Definition of meditate is: Focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation [Oxford Dictionaries]

Self-control: The ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations [Oxford Dictionaries]

According to the above definition meditation and self-control are not related.

So my answer to the question is no.

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