One of the problems with the executive function/self-regulation/ego depletion literature is that "self-regulation" is a really complicated phenomenon that only pretends to be simple (definition from baumeister et al.)


It seems obvious to me that there's a major suffering dimension involved - for instance, if you naturally have low appetite, you'll be able to stay thin without suffering, but if you have a high appetite, it will involve a lot of suffering to avoid eating too much

And if you experience a high level of suffering, you have more NEED for things often attributed to "low self-regulation" - people who aren't suffering don't need relief but they don't necessarily have higher self-control.

It would involve a lot of "self-regulation" to get most people to read methodology sections of science papers, but it doesn't require any for me because I love them and they're my hobby - same for exercise

Another issue is that researchers assume that the long-term payoff matrix is clearly in favor of "delaying gratification," but in reality no one knows and it's often quite fraught - keeping suffering at acceptable levels is often the best course in the long term!