Have you had the experience of having your favorite dessert in the house – maybe it was chocolate cake, ice cream, or pumpkin pie?
It was almost as if it was calling your name from across the house. At first we kind of shrug it off but as the day goes on stressors start hitting us and that voice becomes much more influential… Until finally we succumb to having some.
Being able to delay instant gratification is a powerful skill that we all have to be able to master. Everything on television and the internet is calling our attention to be the instant cure!
We have become extremely conditioned to believing that...
We Need Something
And We Need It Now!
There was a study done by psychologist Walter Mischel that looked at this skill and the impact it has on people. Imagine as a kid you had to sit in a room and placed right in front of you was a delicious marsh mellow.
The experimenter tells you not to eat it and then leaves the room. You think he is going to be back but he doesn’t return for fifteen minutes!
Are you able to fight the urge?
What they found was about 1/3 of the children could resist and 2/3 would succumb to eating it.
This was a test of the child’s ability to delay gratification.
Here’s where it gets interesting: They followed these kids over the years and found that the ones that were able to delay gratification were later in life happier, promoted more, scored better on testing, and had better relationships compared to the ones who weren’t able to.
One Test Predicted A Lot!
There’s a problem though: People will say that it was simply a difference in willpower.
It’s a similar conclusion a lot of people draw about why they cant’ stick to a diet or an exercise program.
“I just don’t have the willpower”
What if there was something more to it though?
In a follow up study they had the same setup as the previous one but this time the kids were taught a distraction technique. The kids were taught to simply turn away from the marsh mellow and begin mouthing words to a story.
50% more kids were able to delay gratification when that happened!
This game is not one of simply willpower. It’s easy for us to start believing that but there is so much more going on.
It’s about learning a multitude of skills including coping techniques, identifying hunger cues, motivation, breaking habits, and adapting new ones. It’s those skills that if we begin to master, will allow us to stay on track more and be better equipped for cravings hit.
Want to Learn Some of
These Skills and More?