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Research has shown that repeated exercise of self-control leads to impaired performance on subsequent self-control tasks, a phenomenon labelled ego depletion. The current research investigates the influence of automatic processes on self-control performance. Study 1 shows that activation of persistence leads to stable self-control performance and may help to overcome effects of ego depletion. Initially depleted participants kept their physical self-control performances constant when primed with persistence. If such a prime was absent, self-control performance of depleted participants decreased indicating ego depletion. Using a different manipulation, these findings were replicated in Study 2.