You know how you gorged yourself on that pizza the other day?
It’s completely natural to eat that second (third?) piece of pizza today because the negative weight and health consequences are so far off in the future.
Psych nerds call it “Delay Discounting.”
Technically – really, really technically:
“Delay Discounting is the decline in the present value of a reward with delay to its receipt. Across a variety of species, populations, and reward types, value declines hyperbolically with delay.”
The longer the Delay, the more we Discount the consequences. Make sense now?
In other other words, if, like the old joke, pizza went immediately to your hips, you’d be far less likely to eat it.
Fortunately, you can overcome delay discounting with Episodic Future Thinking.
It’s simply this – and you do this all the time intuitively …
Just imagine several instances of the positive ramifications of the great things that will happen to your future self if you make the right choice right now.
When your co-workers are all around you inhaling pizza slices, think about how you’ll feel …
– Later that day: “I’m so proud of myself for turning down that pizza.”
– Next month: “I feel so much better about myself now that I’m eating more mindfully and taking the time to make better choices.”
– Six months from now: “My clothes fit so much better now that I’m making smarter choices.”
The science shows you’ll then be far less likely to join the pizza frenzy. The women in one study reduced their intake of calorie-rich foods by almost one-third.
And it’s not just eating.
Episodic Future Thinking has been proven to work with cigarettes and drug addiction, too.