The issue of consumption control is viewed from the perspective of self-regulation in which successful attempts at controlling problem behaviors depend upon achieving motivational readiness. It is proposed that consumption control can be understood as a series of stage-related processes that follow from theoretical accounts of self-regulation contained in the transtheoretical model of change, and the model of action phases. In order to observe ongoing consumption-control processes, a diary study, in which participants described their actions, thoughts, and feelings in attempting a personal consumption-control project, was conducted. Diary entries were interpreted in light of theoretical stage-related processes. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.