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Maintaining Self-Control as Willpower Wanes

self-control Eleven days into the new year – How’s that resolution coming along? Still going strong, or has the willpower waned? Making positive change is not always so easy. We all have good intentions as the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Day. We even have that gung-ho attitude on the first Monday back to work. Everyone is ready to hit the salad bar rather than the burger joint. The local gym is overcrowded with people working out. Self-Control is on steroids!

Then, after a few days, the desire to keep up the diet, or go to the gym, or resist that cigarette seems to wane. What is one to do? How can you keep your new year’s resolution to improve your life when your willpower seems to desert you and your self-control becomes non-existent?

Pray for Temperance and Self-Control

The Lord is well aware that temptations abound, that we are weak by nature, and that we need His supernatural assistance. He is ready to come to the rescue! The first thing to do is to admit to Jesus that you cannot succeed on your own; that you need his help. Then ask for the graces of Temperance and Self-Control. Temperance will “moderate the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.” 1 Asking for Temperance will guide you to healthier eating, keep you going to the gym, and give you the continued desire to stop smoking. Self-Control will help you with portion control, push you to keeping working out to get fit and help you resist that cigarette when cravings hit.

No good habit, or virtue for that matter, perfects itself overnight. Practice and prayer are vital for overcoming behavior you want to change. If you stumble by diverting off the diet, missing a day at the gym, or sneaking a cigarette, DON’T GIVE UP! Pick yourself up and keep going. Work toward that good habit, knowing Jesus is by your side, fueling you with all the virtue you need.


1 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997. Print. n1809.

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

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