Summary of “Why willpower is overrated”

People with a lot of self-control – people who, when they happen upon a delicious food they don’t think they should eat, seemingly grin and bear the temptation until it passes – have it easy.
For many years, Inzlicht explains, psychologists assumed that the self-control measured by the questionnaire measured the same thing as the behavioral tests of willpower.
Inzlicht and his collaborators wanted to answer a simple question with rigorous methods: Do these two measurements of self-control relate to each other? That is, are people who say they are good at self-control in the broad sense actually good at summoning willpower in the moment?
The paper stumbled on a paradox: The people who were the best at self-control – the ones who most readily agreed to survey statements like “I am good at resisting temptations” – reported fewer temptations throughout the study period.
What’s more, the people who exercised more effortful self-control also reported feeling more depleted.
2) People who are good at self-control have learned better habits.
In 2015, psychologists Brian Galla and Angela Duckworth published a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finding across six studies and more than 2,000 participants that people who are good at self-control also tend to have good habits – like exercising regularly, eating healthy, sleeping well, and studying.
“People who are good at self-control seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place,” Galla tells me.

The orginal article.