Our brains are hard-wired to appreciate immediate benefits more than even bigger rewards later on. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems such as overspending or overeating. Scientific American offers a few suggestions for “fixing this glitch”, including waiting just five minutes before indulging.
If you just wait five minutes before indulging in a chocolate bar or purchasing a pricey necklace or making any other stupid move, you’ll want that indulgence significantly less, about half as much, as you did just five minutes before. That minor postponement helps level the playing field, giving the longer-term health or financial benefit a fighting chance.
For long-term habit building (and breaking), it’s good to have a plan for changing them. That might now include delaying bad habits to make them less valuable. (We’ve seen before that just 20 seconds can help you form better habits.)
Check out the Scientific American article for more tips, including how focusing on the now can sometimes be beneficial too.
A Surefire Way to Sharpen Your Focus [Scientific American]