Over the last few days we’ve mentioned a few versions of the famous ‘Marshmallow Experiments’.


And what their discoveries led to in terms of understanding of ‘self control’.


Got another one of those bad boys for you today.


Done many years later, this version involved the use of a ‘tempter’ to distract the young participants.


A bit like your colleague, partner or friend who tries to get you to have that biscuit / cake / wine / beer.


The experimenter created a character called ‘Mr Clown Box’.


Essentially a basic robot who used pre-recorded messages to try and tempt the children.


Phrases like “Just come over and push my nose, and then I’ll do tricks for you” and “Wouldn’t you like to see some of my surprises? Look in my windows now.”


Two groups of children were tested.


One was just told that Mr Clown Box would try and distract them from a task they were doing.


The other group were told the same and also given an ‘If-Then’ plan for how to deal with him.


The were told, when Mr. Clown Box tried to engage them to say to themselves “No, I can’t. I’m working.”


The children with the If-Then plan were distracted an average of 5 seconds versus 24 seconds for the other group.


An near 5 fold difference.




Anyone remember ‘The Odyssey’ by Homer from school?


I’m sure most of you know the basic gist.


Returning from the Trojan War, Odysseus / Ulysses had to sail through the land of the wondrous Sirens, whose irresistible voices caused all other sailors to crash into the rocks.


Desperate to her the Sirens’ songs Ulysses ordered his crew to tie him to the mast and then plug their own ears as they passed through.


“And, if I beseech and bid you to set me free, then do ye straiten me with yet more bonds” he told the crew.


A great, early example of ‘If-Then’ planning – something we’ve done throughout human history.




I’m sure you’re getting the idea.


Create for yourself an ‘If-Then’ plan for what you will do when faced with choices like these.


Choices of deferring immediate short term pleasure for much greater, but future pleasures.


An actual plan for what you will do when those food stuffs are placed infront of you.


An actual plan for what you will buy when you go to the shops / do an online order.


An actual plan for how to deal with those that try and flabotage you.


If X happens, then I will do Y.


They can be real simple.


Ie: “When offered a dessert, I will say “No thank-you.”


Or: “Every time I think about eating / drinking XYZ I will remind myself of the promises I’ve made myself and why I want to do this.”


Or: “When I go to the supermaket I will only go down the aisles that contain the things on the list I have made.”


Or: “When someone tries to ‘twist my arm’ I will calmly ask them to stop and explain how important their help is to me.”


Same as all the suggestions we make, it sounds good in theory.


It just needs doing in practice to work.


Feels forced to start with, becomes your natural response over time.


Research (and hundreds more tests have replicated this with adults in ‘real word’ scenarios) shows you’ll end up making the ‘wrong’ decision 80% less.


Gotta be worth a go, no?


Create your ‘If-Then’ plans now.


And go use them 🙂


Much love,


Jon ‘Mr. Clown’ Hall and Matt ‘All sounds slighlty dodgy doesn’t it?’ Nicholson


P.S. After we announced the ‘5lbs lee-way’ for people doing the challenges over Christmas, we’ve had lots of people inquiring about starting in December. So, we’re going to run a bonus challenge in December-January. You can see details about the find-out-more meeting here: myrise.co.uk/briefing-meeting

Jon Hall
Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at myrise.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.