So, you were a good boy. You didn’t buy ice cream while running your groceries … But of course only to find yourself crying in front of the fridge later in the evening because you so badly want some ice cream NOW!
Which is exactly how it should be. When we make decisions at a time when our habits and emotions haven’t taken over full control of our behavior, it has exactly the effect that we’re looking for. We make more rational decisions.
In the moment, it’s hard to overcome an emotion. It’s even harder when we’re on autopilot because a habit was triggered.
Outside of the moment, these decisions are much easier. When our emotions don’t make us want something so badly – right now, no delay tolerated – then we can treat a pro as a pro and a con as a con. Emotions love to interfere with our reasoning by coming up with all sorts of other reasons why, actually, it’s ok to buy some ice cream despite our intention of implementing a healthier diet, just this time, also: I mean look at what others are doing, compared to them, we’re still doing fine (we’ve already put some vegetables in our cart).
As humans, we’re exceptional at “tweaking” reasons to support our feelings. Which is not always in our best interest.
We tend to make better decisions when we don’t make them in the moment.
PS: But then again: Ice cream? Come on!