In 1972 there was a study conducted on delayed gratification, best known as the “Stanford Marshmallow test”.
In this study there were three different experiments conducted, but in essence the children who participated were offered a choice between one small but immediate reward, or two small rewards if they waited for 15 minutes.
The children that did the best in the experiments found ways to not think about the rewards itself to avoid the frustration.
The authors wrote “They made up quiet songs…hid their head in their arms, pounded the floor with their feet, fiddled playfully and teasingly with the signal bell, verbalised the contingency…prayed to the ceiling, and so on. In one dramatically effective self-distraction technique, after obviously experiencing much agitation, a little girl rested her head, sat limply, relaxed herself, and proceeded to fall sound asleep.”
The three separate experiments demonstrated that the effectiveness of delayed gratification depends heavily on the ability to cognitively avoid or suppress the idea of the reward while waiting for it to be delivered.
When it comes to transforming your body, you will need to practice patience and get comfortable working hard with delayed gratification.
It is one of the few things in life that you just can’t snap your fingers, bring out the wallet and purchase what you want. But if you choose to walk down the path to becoming your best version, you will learn things about yourself, your operating system and your capabilities.
Instead of focusing so much on the end results, of getting the bigger reward, why not find distractions in your day to day life that will take you there anyway?
This could include planning your meals a week in advance, challenge yourself to see strength results in every gym session and research healthy recipes you want to try out.
Bottom line – the end result will not feel as frustratingly far away when you stop focusing on it. Bringing it back to everyday systems and strategies will naturally lead the way, and is by far a lot less overwhelming to focus on.