Self-regulation theory, as applied to medical education, describes the cyclical control of academic and clinical performance through several key processes that include goal-directed behaviour, use of specific strategies to attain goals, and the adaptation and modification to behaviours or strategies to optimise learning and performance. Extensive research across a variety of non-medical disciplines has highlighted differences in key self-regulation processes between high- and low-achieving learners and performers. Structured identification of key self-regulation processes can be used to develop specific remediation approaches that can improve performance in academic and complex psycho-motor skills. General teaching approaches that are guided by a self-regulation perspective can also enhance academic performance. Self-regulation theory offers an exciting potential for improving academic and clinical performance in medical education.