A new Kansas State University study says that people who think in the long-term develop and implement healthier behaviors.
The study compared undergraduate’s perceptions of time with their behavior as it related to things like smoking, exercise and nutrition. The results: “Those who understood the future benefits or perils of present decisions were more likely to participate in healthier behaviors. Conversely, short-term thinkers preferred instant grativication and engaged in less-healthy behaviors.”
Mary Bratcher, co-owner of San Diego-based physical therapy and training facility The BioMechanics, sees this as a practical connection of cause and effect, both in the short- and long-term. “[Longer-term thinkers] clearly see the links between eating unhealthy foods and the risk of becoming overweight, the same way they see an open bottle of bleach on the washing machine as a potential risk that could ruin their favorite jeans,” she says.
Want to use this mindset to modify your own habits? Here are some higher-level thinking questions to get you started:
- Do I really want/need to eat this right now?
- Will I feel good tomorrow if I choose to have another drink?
- What habits do the people I surround myself with have?
- Can I wait 10 minutes to allow a craving to pass?
- Would a great piece of fruit be a substitute?
Regular practice of healthy choices leads to great gains towards your fitness goals. Delaying gratification is an easy and quick way to step back and effectively evaluate its possible influence on our future health and overall fitness goals.
Enjoy Your Exercise. Enjoy Your Day.