A quick post this week. Having self-control can be tough. It’s not something that you can do; it’s something that you have. How can you have more self-control?

In the famous Stanford marshmallow experiment, children could either eat one marshmallow or pretzel now or eat two tasty treats later, normally about fifteen minutes.

Not surprisingly, many children grabbed the treat straight away but some delayed their gratification and received their enhanced prize of two marshmallows.

Delaying gratification isn’t easy though so what techniques are there to help overcome the ‘feed me now’ emotional drive within you?

Here are some of them in a list. In another post I will detail these a little more:
1. In your mind turn the marshmallows (or whatever the temptation is) into clouds (if you want to help resist the temptation completely turn them into something unpleasant!)
2. Make them disappear. In your mind, that is; not in your stomach!
3. Hide them (literally in a cupboard: out of sight…) or don’t look at them (that’s what some enterprising kids did in the Stanford experiment)
4. Distraction. Do something else, especially low emotional tasks
5. Tell yourself that you will eat the ‘marshmallows’ and will do so in 15 minutes

That will do. There’s five techniques that all work in delaying, or even preventing, gratification, and perhaps guilt too.

Remember, though, that your self-control is like a muscle. It gets tired and runs out of strength and energy so be wary of those times when you’re particularly vulnerable to temptation. Remember, though, your self-control is like a muscle. It will get stronger and more able to resist with regular practice. See what I did there?…

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