In this study, we first tested the hypothesis that the action identification level is affected by experimentally manipulated task competence. We found that high experienced task competence resulted in intermediate levels of action identification, whereas low task competence resulted in both low and high levels of action identification. Furthermore, as expected, we found that intermediate action identification levels enhanced self-control, defined here as longer persistence on an unattractive task. The hypotheses were tested by means of a word association task, which was assigned to 475 freshmen. The findings suggest that persistence on an unattractive task can be enhanced if the individual focuses on the task itself(defined as the instructions of the task), and not on its details or on the reason why he or she is engaged in the task.