Suite One, 34 Murwillumbah Street, Murwillumbah NSW, Australia

Shopping cart is empty.

Olwen Anderson's Blog

When every day feels like the Marshmallow Test

Saturday, March 03, 2018
Would you have passed the marshmallow test? Last century two scientists at Stanford University devised what’s now widely known as the ‘marshmallow test’ to explore how children develop self-management in order to delay gratification. To do this, they sat each child down with their favourite treat on a plate in front of them. They could choose to eat it right away, but if they could wait for 15 minutes they’d receive another treat. 

It would have been a tough test for a five year old. But even for an adult, every day can seem like a long succession of marshmallow tests when you’re working on your health.  There’s the choice of whether to put on your training shoes and head out the door for a walk, or to roll over and press the snooze button. Whether to make time for the kind of breakfast that will sustain you yet create pots to wash, or to grab a donut and coffee on your commute. 

At lunchtime you have to make the choice between munching on a salad, or succumbing to the aroma of those toasted sandwiches. In the evening, do you make time to meditate, or slump into the couch in front of the TV, beer in hand? Your day can seem to be filled with endless decision points. Eventually you’ll be rewarded for your hard work with more energy, a better shape and mood. But you’ll have to wait for it.

It’s also been suggested that self-discipline is like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the easier it gets to manage yourself. But even professional athletes, those doyennes of self-management, have days off from time to time. 
So perhaps allowing yourself a ‘cheat meal’ once a week, or a day on the couch, could give your self-management muscles a rest. Then the next day get back to being disciplined. 

To let yourself off the hook, temporarily, could be the way to strengthen your self-management. It’s human to relapse on your best intentions, after all; and not entirely reasonable to expect you’ll do things perfectly every time.

So if you’ve fallen behind on the worthy New Year health resolutions you set yourself, don’t despair. You could, if you want to, choose to get back on track with your exercise and diet, face another day of training your discipline muscles, and witness your self-management get stronger with each step forward.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy 'How to make it easier to exercise' 

Book An Appointment After something specific?

Recent Articles

Olwen Anderson @olwenanderson


Subscribe to my ezine and receive your FREE recipe ebook for healthy breakfasts!