Some people have a harder time than others resisting their impulses. This is called “delay discounting,” where you discount, or undervalue, the larger benefits of waiting in favor of smaller immediate rewards. This can lead to things like overeating, substance abuse, drinking, shopping too much, or risky sexual behavior.
You can learn to postpone immediate gratification through episodic future thinking, or vividly imagining future positive experiences or rewards. It’s a great way to strengthen your ability to make decisions that are better for you and those around you in the long run.”
Short-term solutions, like seven-day cleanses or 21-day fitness crazes, are designed to jumpstart healthy living and produce rapid results. But they’re often not feasible for the long-term.
The key to getting healthy isn’t having a taste of your ideal self for a few weeks then reverting to old ways. It’s about creating sustainable change. Consider behaviors you can adopt that you’ll be more likely to stick with over time. This way, your efforts won’t be lost, and you’ll feel the true benefits of change.
Focusing on how a change might heal your body and enhance your life can help. When you stop smoking, your risk of a heart attack drops within 24 hours. Reducing stress can lead to better relationships and lower your blood pressure. Even small improvements in your nutrition and physical activity can reduce your health risks and lengthen your life. Take small, gradual steps. It’s a journey!