The title is marshmallows, but the photo is of… graham crackers?

Yes, those graham crackers are my downfall. Worse than any candy I used to love as a kid. Worse than chips and guac. Even worse than ice cream. 

That box is a family pack. If you’ve ever purchased a family pack, you would know that they usually contain 6 packs of graham crackers. In my college dorm room, sometimes I’d eat an entire family pack of these bad boys by myself in one week, either plain or dipped in peanut butter. Did I have self-control when it came to that family pack? Some would say no (I’d agree). Luckily, my self-control is much better than that when it comes to just about every other food I consume and bad habit that I have.

Below is a very popular experiment involving self-control, a marshmallow (or two), and a group of 4-year-old kids.

If you’re thinking, “shoot, I wouldn’t stand a chance in that room with a donut,” there’s still hope.

The researchers asked the boy you see looking away from the marshmallow what he did to take his mind off of it and all he said was, “I told myself not to look at the marshmallow.” He’s four years old and was able to figure out that telling himself not to look at it because it took away the constant reminder of what he could be eating was enough to get him the second marshmallow, which is what he truly wanted to be eating. He told himself that if he waited for the second marshmallow, he would stuff both of them in his mouth at the same time, and that’s exactly what he did. Some may think, after seeing what he did with both marshmallows, that it doesn’t look like great self-control. I would beg to differ.

I’m not saying it’s better to delay instant gratification so you can stuff yourself with twice as much of your favorite treat. I just want to point out that getting your mind off of something you’d normally fixate on – like dessert, emotional eating, and mindless snacking – by thinking about or doing something else can be done by anyone. You can control your thoughts. If this four-year-old can do it, why not you?