In a study on behavior an investigation was conducted.
This study looked into the way in which people choose between virtues and vices.
In this case a virtue is a choice which will require a small short term cost.
A virtue will also have larger long term gain.
A vice is a choice that allows for a small short term gain. A vice will have a larger long term loss.
People are better at choosing virtues over vices when they plan ahead. Planning ahead ensures that there will already be a delay in the outcome of the choice. Long-term decision making is easier for most people when it performed in advance. Short term choices made in the moment are more likely to result in giving in to short term pleasures. Working toward a better future is easier when rewards are further in the future.
Daniel Read, George Loewenstein, and Shobana Kalyanaraman; Combining the immediacy Effect and Diversification Heuristic; Journal of Behavioral Decision Making