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Lessons learned from trait self-control in well-being: making the case for routines and initiation as important components of trait self-control

Denise De Ridder, Marleen Gillebaart
2016 Health Psychology Review  
It seems common knowledge that trait self-control helps people to achieve the things they find important in their lives by not being distracted by immediate pleasures and temptations. Initial evidence suggests that trait self-control is important in well-being as well, with people high in selfcontrol experiencing more positive momentary affect, life satisfaction, and happiness. Whereas it is not so difficult to imagine why effortful inhibition of impulses would benefit continued striving for
more » ... ued striving for long-term personal goals, it is more challenging to understand why self-control would make people happier and more satisfied with their lives. The present paper sets out to explain this intriguing phenomenon and aims to identify mechanisms by why people high in trait self-control experience better well-being. We examine potential underlying processes that may explain the role of trait self-control in well-being and propose initiation of desired behaviour and adaptive routines as key components of self-control in well-being that challenge the classic explanation of self-control as effortful inhibition. ARTICLE HISTORY
doi:10.1080/17437199.2016.1266275 pmid:27899059 fatcat:en3uicjvufhsrivrk23dqwr4yu