Temptation – we all know what it is, and almost everyone has been effected by it. Temptation is the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise. Temptation influences our decisions and lives daily, not just in what we eat, but what we do.
Joe De Sena talks about temptation being closely related to instant gratification in his book “Spartan Up!” Joe writes that we use instant gratification to get what we think we want, but if we can delay it, we get what we know we want. A book I’m reading for school right now is “Outliers“: by Malcolm Gladwell, is about success and how steps you take to become successful are not just your decision, but part of your culture. Both books focus on becoming successful as a person, and both mention temptation.
In both books, one of the most famous temptation tests is mentioned. This test is called the cookie test. The test was preformed by Walter Mischel to test how easily children gave in to instant gratification. One child was given a choice of his/her favorite snack and was told they could eat it now, or if they waited 15 minutes, they could get two snacks. After the experiment was over, the researchers followed the participants throughout their lives to see the differences in the ones who took the initial snack, and the ones who could wait. Their results showed that the children who took the first snack had lower SAT scores, a higher body-mass index, and a higher risk of substance abuse. The other kids who could wait for the second snack however, did well in their careers, schooling and health.
It’s interesting how a simple test of waiting to eat a snack was able to set a group of people apart in their career success and their lifestyle. Temptation has had a definite impact on me. Before I began my journey to the Spartan lifestyle, I chose to play video games rather than work on school projects. I also chose to eat pizza, cookies and cake over a salad. The temptations of sweets and other junk food was too strong. These are just two examples of how temptation affected me in my past. Even today temptation still is present. It’s hard not to take a slice and eat the salad when everyone else is eating pizza or to pass on dessert while the other people around you eat cake and ice cream.
When I get into a situation like that, and everyone does, I make an analysis. Do I want to be healthy and fit so I can live the Spartan lifestyle, or do I want to take a slice of cake and risk going back to my old ways? In the end, I think the choice is obvious. It’s tough, and there are some days when I need the support of someone else. If my mom or dad sees I’m reaching for something that isn’t the best nutrition wise, they’ll remind me of my fitness goals and ask if I really want the 30 seconds of satisfaction that food will give me, or a lifetime of fitness and health. Toss your cookies is an expression that comes from Joe, and means to weigh your options. Do you really want to do this, or is there a better option?
Everyone has a cheat day or a cheat meal at some point, and thats ok! Between now and the end of the month, you may have a cheat meal, and it’s not a bad thing. When I first started getting fit and eating right, I avoided these cheat meals because I thought that if i had one, I would get sucked back into my old ways. Instead, the opposite happened. I didn’t allow myself those days, and I just cracked and ate tons of junk food in one day! What I’ve learned from that is that you need those cheat meals to keep focused, because it’s when you don’t allow yourself those meals, you snap and go back to your old habits. When you have a cheat meal, don’t get discouraged and stop everything you’ve done, remember why you started your journey in the first place to keep motivated!
I think that when it comes to temptation, it can be good evil. It allows us to analyze ourselves and look at our goals so we can be honest about where we are and where we want to be. For example, “I really want cake, but from my self assessment, do I really need cake, or can I have a fruit instead?” Temptation is all around us and if you stay focused on your long term goals it allows us to stay fixated on those goals and be strong. If you have a cheat day, it’s not like all your hard work is gone. Remember your goals so you can get back on track to achieve them. Just remember to toss your cookies, and you will see what wonders delayed gratification has to offer.
I guess it’s safe to say good things come to those who wait. Leave a comment with how you are faced with temptation, and how you conquer it! You can also leave a comment on my @JourneyToSpartan Instagram or tweet to me @Journey2Spartan!