The power of delayed gratification

In this world of sound bites, instant news, and instant food, we have lost the art of delaying gratification. Learning to wait for something is a concept that eludes many. You can see it in the tweets hollering about the Olympics being on a time delay. You can really see it when it comes to weight loss.

Google weight loss and you will see thousands of products promising FAST weight loss. Lose 10 pounds in a week, lose 20 pounds in a month, lose, lose, lose. Heaven forbid you have to wait. We want results and we want them now. Failure to get insta results leads to diet switches, workout changes, or just plain giving up.

In 1972, Stanford University researchers did a test with marshmallows and toddlers. The children were placed in a room with a marshmallow and told that if they waited 15 minutes without eating the marshmallow, they would get a second. The purpose of the experiment was to see if there was a correlation between being able to delay gratification and giving in. Subsequent follow ups have shown that the children who were able to hold out for the 15 minutes have correlated with higher levels of competency in later life.

In short, being able to wait and be patient is an indicator of future success. So the question is, do you have the ability to wait and be patient? Are you willing to ignore the marshmallow in front of you for the promise of weight loss in the future? When you talk to successful weight loss folks one of the big things they mention is the ability to hang in there. You are not going to see instant results. Setting realistic expectations is critical.

Working with a trainer or a life coach is a great way to get workable goals set. But the trainer can only help you. It’s up to you to find ways to resist that marshmallow now for the promise of something more later.

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3 responses to “The power of delayed gratification

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