PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How to make better decisions could come in handy this holiday season as new research from Temple University’s business school uncovered some important patterns.

We make hundreds of decisions every day and they have consequences. This new research from Temple found one important ingredient for good decision-making.

The holiday season brings not just joy and merriment, but lots of decisions — how much to spend on gifts, what to drink at parties, and all the delicious food choices.

How people make decisions was the focus of new research at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

“Our study is all about physical search, actually looking at pieces of information,” said Crystal Reeck, a marketing professor at Temple.

Reeck designed computer questionnaires, asking people things like choosing between getting less money quickly or more money later.

“The people who did those comparisons sort of look at the dollar tradeoffs and the time tradeoffs ended up being the ones who were more patient and more likely to choose the larger later,” said Reeck.

The people who made better decisions tend to look at the whole, big picture, as opposed to people who focus on one thing at a time.

“These folks inhabiting the world of once choice, they were much less patient,” said Reeck.

So with holiday decision-making, Reeck says slow down instead of being impulsive and focused on quick reward.

Like with healthier food choices, they’ll end up looking better on the scale later.

“By arming people with this search strategy, we’re giving them a way to help themselves in choosing the option that is going to be better for them in the long run,” said Reeck.

The research, published by the National Academy of Sciences, included more than 200 people, concluding what many suspect, patient decision-making leads to better choices.