I recently came across a study into deferred gratification. This is the ability to resist a temptation of an immediate reward to wait for a later reward.
This ability to resist the immediate reward and wait for the later reward, which is usually much bigger, has been seen as a huge indicator to success in all areas of life. See the TED video.
The experiment involved young kids aged between 4 and 6yo. They were placed into a room individually and given 1 marshmallow on a plate in front of them. The experimenter then told the child that she had to leave the room for 15mins but would bring back 1 more marshmallow if they did not eat the marshmallow in front of them. So if the child resists the temptation to eat the marshmallow for 15 mins then they double their reward!!
How many do you think ended up with two?
1 out of 3 children resisted the marshmallow and received two. In a follow up study these kids were more successful in life, had much better jobs and much better scores in their study!!
This is the same with health and fitness and loads of other aspects of our lives. If we were to avoid the instant gratification we could be doubling our rewards, and become much more successful at our endeavours.
How can this apply to us?
Ever lay in bed looking out the window thinking that you should go train, but then give in for the immediate reward of the warm bed?
How about getting that fast food when you’re hungry instead of waiting till you got home to make yourself a nutritious meal?
Think of all the immediate gratification we are tempted with each day and think about how many proverbial marshmallows you eat.