Can’t Help Myself

Pre-school children sit in a room. They are told they can have a marshmallow now, or if they can wait 15 minutes they can have 2 marshmallows. The marshmallow in placed in front of the children. The instructor walks out of the room and observes the children.

Are you a 1 or a 2 marshmallow kind of person? The Stanford “Marshmallow Experiment” was carried out in 1960 by Walter Mischel and Ebbe B. Ebbesen. They wanted to observe delayed gratification.

In that case I would easily be a 2.

In real life can we be 2s always? I don’t think we can. I think we fluctuate between the two, the instant versus delayed gratification, like a tug of war. Or is it just in our heads the Devil’s advocate whispering, take it now, why wait? We know to wait gives a better outcome but we also know it is more difficult to wait.

Those of us that are able to wait, or to delay gratification, have a better chance of succeeding in life or that’s what the experiment was supposed to show. Years later it was proven that the results depended on the socioeconomic background of the child. It wasn’t based on will power at all; it depended on the affluence of the household. A biased experiment.

Why am I talking about this? It kind of relates. In my previous blog Care, I mention the mini-habits and that there should be a limit on 4, otherwise it is harder to achieve. Well I did mention I had 6 mini-habits. That’s right. More than recommended. Did I read the label and the instructions? Yes. Do I know better? It would appear so.

Does assembling more mini-habits than recommended mean that I am stuffing my pockets with marshmallows now so that I can achieve my goals earlier? Am I trying to accumulate the habits quicker? Am I rushing the process? Does that mean that I might just end up with a sticky gooey mess and no mini-habits at the end of it? Am I trying to get instant gratification on too many goals as apposed to if I took it slow, I would delay the goals but end up with properly formed habits?

Here are my 6 mini-habits:

  1. Eat a whole food daily.
  2. Open Morning Pages Journal
  3. Put on Gym Gear or Sit on Exercise Bike or Sit in Sauna
  4. Do 1 Duolingo lesson
  5. Open Sketchbook
  6. 2 pages of Reading

This is beginning to sound like the Spanish Inquisition…

These are my 7 mini-habits:

  1. Eat a whole food daily.
  2. Open Morning Pages Journal
  3. Put on Gym Gear or Sit on Exercise Bike or Sit in Sauna
  4. Do 1 Duolingo lesson
  5. Open Sketchbook
  6. 2 pages of Reading
  7. Stand Outside in the Garden

We shall just have to wait and see. I am going to continue with my 7 mini-habits and monitor how I go. So far so good. This is my experiment. After a month of these mini-habit they should evolve into proper habits. The habits will be on autopilot. Wish me luck.

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