by Kathie England

How 10 Minutes Can Build Your Willpower Muscle

Although ten minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, waiting just ten minutes can make a big difference in building your willpower muscle. In The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal explains that a ten-minute delay before you indulge in something tempting helps your brain process this temptation differently. Your brain will treat this temptation as a “future reward” and that takes away the powerful impulse to choose your immediate gratification.

Dr. McGonigal says that it’s the “immediate” in immediate gratification that hijacks your brain into indulging or doing something you really were trying to avoid. She advises taking a mandatory ten-minute wait before giving in to the temptation.

Our brain processes immediate rewards differently than it processes a delayed reward. Immediate rewards trigger the older, more primitive reward system in our brain. When we delay that gratification, even for ten minutes, it gives our prefrontal cortex the time to think rationally and resist the temptation.

If you’d like to learn more about building your willpower muscle, you can join the next FREE Making Time for Success call on Monday, November 18 at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. To register, go to to get a flier with more details.