The Marshmallow Test

The Marshmallow Test

We all need to resist temptation sometimes, but some of us are better at it than others. A toddler won’t understand the concept of delayed gratification and will stuff their face with candy they see on the table. However, an adult should be able to resist and turn away from sweet delicacies. How good are you at delayed gratification? Take our test and find out!

Before you jump in, let’s find out the definition of delayed gratification. It involves the ability to self-regulate and postpone rewards. It’s being able to wait to get what you want. The interchangeable term for delayed gratification could be self-control or impulse control.

Why do we exercise our willpower to control our impulses? We put off something we want so we can get something else, perhaps something better, in the future. For example, you might deny yourself junk food so you could get fit and wear your old jeans again. Or you could give up a few outings to save up money for a concert. 

Food is a good example of delayed gratification in action. It’s hard to resist tasty snacks full of sugar or fat. However, if you desire to lead a healthy lifestyle, you have to learn how to control yourself better. If you want to lose weight, get in better shape, or live longer, practice resisting candy or fast food in favor of more nutritious food. 

Physical pleasures are another example. Buying yet another pair of shoes or a new shiny gadget might be nice, but in a long term, saving that money could be more beneficial to you. 

This ties in with financial well-being. It’s easy to spend money without a second thought, but it’s not good for your long-term financial stability. If you decide to buy that expensive thing, you will feel good for a while. However, it might lead you to not have any savings later on. 

In the 1970s, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted a curious experiment. He placed a treat in front of the children and offered them a choice. They could either eat a treat immediately or wait and later get two snacks. 

Many children ate their treats without waiting, but some were able to resist the urge and received their prizes afterward. The psychologist discovered that the kids who waited performed better academically and had fewer behavioral problems than the kids who didn’t wait. 

Choosing a long-term benefit over immediate gratification is often challenging. It’s hard to deny yourself something pleasurable. However, the ability to delay a reward is crucial in terms of achieving your goals and life success.

Why is delayed gratification beneficial to us? Firstly, it helps us plan for the future. We can set a goal and stick to it. 

It also helps us evolve life skills. Denying yourself something is no easy feat. When we practice delayed gratification, we strengthen our ability to develop discipline, persistence, and patience.

It causes us to understand ourselves better. When you know why you make the choices you make and are mindful about your decisions, you learn a lot about yourself as a person. 

Believe it or not, delayed gratification also helps the people around you. You can aid them with the skills you develop. For example, you being disciplined can help your partner or family member also become disciplined. 

The uncertainty is the main reason delayed gratification is so hard. Your immediate reward is right there in front of you, and it’s a sure thing. Your long-term benefit – whether it’s weight loss, financial well-being, or something else – is uncertain and seems far away.

Some strategies can help you increase your ability to delay gratification. These include:

  • giving definite time frames: set a solid deadline for when you will receive your reward – knowing that will make you feel more assured,
  • goal-setting: put in place a specific, attainable, and measurable goal,
  • setting realistic deadlines: when trying to achieve a goal, think of a sensible timeline for yourself to accomplish it, don’t set yourself up for failure,
  • tracking your activities and mindful journaling: it’s a good accountability tool and a reliable way to improve impulse control,
  • positive replacement behavior – for instance, replacing an unhealthy habit with a healthy one (instead of watching TV in bed, try reading a book for half an hour),
  • positive self-talk – don’t punish yourself, avoid talking negatively about yourself, and practice self-compassion.

We have some quotes about delayed gratification to motivate you into action!

“Be careful not to compromise what you want most for what you want now.” – Zig Ziglar

“Great investing requires a lot of delayed gratification.” – Charlie Munger

“Delayed gratification is a sweet lesson whose teacher knows the best is not right now, it is yet to be.” – Maximillian Degeneres

“Without delayed gratification, goals are not achieved and objectives don’t get accomplished.” – Sunday Adelaja

Are you ready to discover how good you are at delayed gratification? Get down to the questions and find out the truth about yourself! Good luck and have fun!

How many questions are in the quiz?

20 questions

What options can you get?

Iron will, Strong mind, Average discipline, Living in the moment, Give it to me now

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