Self-compassion > Self-criticism For Self-control

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In The Willpower Instinct, Dr. Kelly McGonigal tells us:

If you think that the key to greater willpower is being harder on yourself, you are not alone. But you are wrong. Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both ‘I will’ power and ‘I want’ power. In contrast, self-compassion—being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure—is associated with more motivation and better self-control. Consider, for example, a study at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, that tracked the procrastination of students over an entire semester. Lots of students put off studying for the first exam, but not every student made it a habit. Students who were harder on themselves for procrastinating on their first exam were more likely to procrastinate on later exams than students who forgave themselves. The harder they were on themselves about procrastinating the first time, the longer they procrastinated for the next exam! Forgiveness—not guilt—helped them get back on track.

I used to be very harsh with myself. “I am an idiot” was a go-to mantra. Even today, it will occasionally bubble up. The difference is that I now have an implementation intention of an IF-THEN plan.

If I call myself an idiot, THEN I will execute the three steps of self-compassion (self-kindness + common humanity + mindfulness).