The problem with self-control is that we are usually paying now for a reward later. The consequence is that we discount future rewards and give in to feel good now. How can we learn to delay gratification? Here’s some new research that might help.
This Week in Psychological Science (TWiPS) just posted a new article published by Tinuke Oluyomi Daniel, Christina Stanton, and Leonard Epstein (University at Buffalo, The State University of New York) entitled, "The Future Is Now: Reducing Impulsivity and Energy Intake Using Episodic Future Thinking." In this study, the authors explore how future thinking helps with impulse control. The participants in their study that thought about the future were able to eat fewer calories, thereby sticking to their goal to reduce their food intake and meet their weight-control goal.
In an earlier similar study published in the journal Appetite (read a summary here), Epstein and his colleagues concluded that “when people are taught to imagine, or simulate the future, they can improve their ability to delay gratification.”