By Emily Dimytosh, PLA Marketing Team Leader
We’ve all heard of the marshmallow study: researchers in the States put a marshmallow in front of a toddler with the instructions that if they ate the marshmallow then, they would only get one marshmallow. But if they waited, they would get two marshmallows. The kids that were able to wait not only got two marshmallows, but also a happier, more successful life due to the self-discipline they were able to develop.
I put myself on a marshmallow program earlier this semester. I was disciplined in being at the gym by 7:00 am and being at my desk working by 8 am. I diligently completed all my readings the week before they were due, and had my email inbox cleared every night before I went to bed.
Then I started to slip. I learned that it was just as easy to work out at 7 pm as 7 am, that I could eat breakfast and start my readings at the same time to squeeze in an extra half hour of sleep, and that if one email went unanswered in 24 hours, the world was not going to end.
I ate the marshmallows. Rather, I gorged on the entire bag. And the sugar high? Incredible. I relished in my extra sleep in the morning, and the fact that I could stay up later watching TV instead of getting back to my teammates.
The rush lasted for a week. After that, I realized why I had put some of those plans into place. Working out in the morning was less busy, so I got to use the machines that I liked. I started my readings at 8 am so I could be done by 4 pm instead of 5 or 6. The email thing though, I realized that didn’t make sense. It was as easy to get back to people the next day, if necessary.
My ‘binge’ showed me why I had put some habits in place, and how others could be tweaked to be more effective. It reminded me that self-discipline is fine and good, but like anything, only in moderation. Sometimes, you just gotta eat the marshmallow.