Self-regulation is a critical component of Social Cognitive Theory, which was developed by psychologist Albert Bandura. It refers to the ability to control one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to achieve specific goals or outcomes.

What is Social Cognitive Theory?

Social Cognitive Theory holds that human behavior is influenced by both personal factors and environmental factors. According to this theory, people are not simply passive recipients of their environment. Instead, they actively engage with the world around them and use their cognitive abilities to make decisions and take actions.

One of the key components of Social Cognitive Theory is observational learning. This refers to the process by which people learn from observing others. For example, children may learn how to behave in social situations by observing their parents or other adults.

Another important aspect of Social Cognitive Theory is self-efficacy. This refers to a person’s belief in their ability to successfully complete a task or achieve a goal. People with high self-efficacy are more likely to try new things and persist in the face of obstacles.

What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is closely related to self-efficacy. In order for someone to be successful at achieving a goal, they need not only believe that they can do it but also have the ability to regulate their thoughts and actions in order to make it happen.

Self-regulation involves several different processes:

Goal-setting: First, a person must set a specific goal for themselves. This could be anything from losing weight to saving money for retirement.

Monitoring: Next, the person must monitor their progress towards that goal. This could involve keeping track of calories consumed or money saved each day.

Self-reflection: The person must also engage in regular self-reflection in order to evaluate their progress towards their goal. They may need to adjust their approach if they’re not making enough progress.

Self-reinforcement: Finally, the person must reinforce their own behavior by rewarding themselves for achieving milestones or making progress towards their goal.

Why is self-regulation important?

Self-regulation is critical for success in many areas of life. For example, someone who wants to lose weight needs to be able to regulate their eating habits and exercise routine in order to achieve that goal. Similarly, someone who wants to save money needs to be able to regulate their spending habits and make a budget in order to reach their goal.

Self-regulation is also important for personal growth and development. By setting goals and working towards them, people can challenge themselves and expand their capabilities. This can lead to increased self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment.


Self-regulation is a key component of Social Cognitive Theory, which holds that human behavior is influenced by both personal factors and environmental factors. By setting goals, monitoring progress, engaging in self-reflection, and reinforcing positive behaviors, people can successfully achieve their goals and improve their lives.