Re-Defining Self Control

You may or may not have heard of the “Marshmallow Test.” It was a test performed in the early 1960’s on nursery school students. It was simple: kids had to pick between: One marshmallow right away or two marshmallows if they waited 20 minutes.

Now, I’m sure you’ve already considered which way you’d go – instant gratification or a delayed reward – but, imagine this experiment times ten and with no time constraints. Let me put it this way: you’re sitting around a kitchen table, let’s say it’s Labor Day Weekend, and there’s an abundance of desserts spread out in the middle of the table. There’s oreos, ice cream cake, a pint of ice cream, apple pie, pumpkin pie and bakery-style cookies. I know that my mental battle is deciding between the ice cream cake or the never-before-had nutella ice cream. The mental argument continues, “but I can do both right? It’s a holiday weekend, why not. Wait, I did have that extra scoop of pasta for dinner though…”

They call this ability to control yourself – your emotions and desires – self control, but what does that REALLY mean? Is that saying no to dessert all together or is it indulging in a small piece of ice cream cake because, well, it looks delicious and you love ice cream cake?

Self-control is what you define it to be, what makes sense to you – hence “SELF.” If your usual piece of ice cream cake takes up the whole plate, then taking a more slender slice is self control for you. So Kudos to YOU!

Imagine back to those marshmallows and let’s look at it a different way. There’s a bag of marshmallows on the table. You can either have the whole bag or just one – and whenever you want. I mean, it’s there right? The only person closing up the bag and putting it away is you. You tell yourself you’ll have just one, but you put your hand back for another. The second you stop yourself – whether it’s after one, two, five or ten – you’ve exercised self-control. But if you didn’t stop after one, you begin to doubt your ability to control yourself. That’s why it’s important to re-define Self Control today.

The truth is, it’s probably not your lack of willpower or self-control that’s to blame. It could be that you’re really supposed to be working on a huge project and you’re procrastinating or distracted, it could be that you’ve been cleansing all week and your blood sugar is low so your cravings are high, it could be that after the first marshmallow you started thinking about everything you have to do this week and lost track of marshmallows or it could simply be that someone just placed a bag of marshmallows in front of you and they’re way too accessible to deny

The more you tell yourself you have no self-control, the more you don’t.The point is, there’s no use in beating yourself up over what the correct level of self-control is because it is not based on an article in a magazine or the latest diet fad. It is based on what is going on in your life and what you know you can handle, or not handle. Take the conscious time to define your self-control for yourSELF.

By Sara Schmidt


An aspiring ambitious writer. She is a self proclaimed creative communicator. A person who uses resourcefulness and outside-of-the-box thinking to tactfully share or exchange information, news and insight.

In her life journey she has developed an insatiable interest in the healthy lifestyle.

She has always been somewhat obsessed with food.Although she’s never been overweight, the way she ate brought her to border-line diabetic. Her sweet tooth has a hold on her that she works to curb everyday.

To keep her mind and body motivated she is constantly researching and trying out new workouts.

Her motto: Life is a constant journey and I aim to improve with each and every stride.

Leave a Reply