The Self Control Fallacy

Do fitter, healthier people just have better self-control? I would say that is certainly NOT what determines our success. The whole concept of self-control is a bit of a fallacy in my opinion. We all find some things easier to stick to or easier to avoid than others.

I think what really divides people is how ingrained their habits are. If you manage to incorporate a certain routine into your daily life it will gradually become more ingrained over time and require less conscious effort to stick to. This is true for both good & bad habits. Bad habits can become deeply ingrained in our lives just as good ones can. This does not therefore mean you need better self-control to fix them. Changing them will require a consistent change in your behaviour which will become more natural to you over time.

I found myself saying this quote to a client ‘You are a product of your lifestyle’. You are not a just a product of your self-control, genetics or even your motivation. You are largely the culmination of your habits.

This is good news! This means that success does not require perfection. It requires commitment, consistency & the refusal to let failure be your stopping point. Figure out what habits are needed to get you where you want to go and what habits need to be weeded out.

I personally feel like I have very little self-control. However, what I do have are deep ingrained routines which I have worked on for years. Working out 3-4 times a week does not feel like an option. Just like going to work does not feel optional. It’s just a normal part of my weekly routine. If I made every decision based on how I feel I’d never get off the couch from watching Netflix. This does not mean I don’t enjoy the gym or enjoy eating healthily but it does mean I don’t have to rely on my mood and motivation to stay in shape.