Why People Crave Greater Self-Control

A recent study has suggested that self-control affects well-being and the level of success in one’s life. Although this life virtue is essential, acquiring it or helping people learn self-control is an uphill task. To learn self-control, one needs to be motivated by the desire to learn and improve. Research has found that there are variations in the rate at which people desire higher levels of self-control.

The desire for self-control (DSC) refers to one’s wish to improve one self-control. One’s desire for self-control is a sum aggregate of several factors, including cultural and societal demands. Three universities, Texas Tech University in the US, Australia’s University of Queensland, and Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, recently conducted research to determine factors that drive people’s desire for self-control.

The research, whose findings were published in the APA journal Motivation Science, was divided into four studies. From all studies, data showed that people with low self-control expressed a greater desire for self-control. These are people who intuitively regard themselves as having a low sense of self-control.

Another finding from all four studies is that all participants said they believe self-control is vital in achieving life goals. Self-control was expressed in various forms like the fear of failing in life, greater desire to meet goals shortly.

Researchers found that those who regarded themselves as low in self-control expressed a greater desire to join a self-control course.

In 2017, Uziel & Baumeister, who are co=authors of the current report, conducted another research to determine the implication of having a greater desire for self-control to one’s performance rate. The study found an inverse relationship between one’s greater desire for self-control to task performance. Those who desired to have more self-control also expected to perform poorly in a task.

Based on this study, one may question the motive behind greater self-control. According to the current research, the desire for greater self-control always arises late in the process of addressing a challenge.

In a comment, Dr. Liad Uziel of the Department of Psychology at Bar-Ilan University said, “Wishing for more self-control can lead to better self-control, but only when this wish serves a long-term process of self-improvement. If the desire arises when one already needs a high degree of self-control, the desire could be detrimental.”

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