Delaying gratification is a habit of people who predictably have higher quality careers, relationships, health, and finances. This matters both for chocolate intake & investment activity. So how do we further embody this trait?
Upgrading in this way requires feeling ok with being dissatisfied. It will require turning down pleasure. If, however, we understand that the pleasure we’re turning down is short-term, we may be better equipped to hold out for long-term gains.
So where are the pitfalls and how do we avoid them? Let’s explore some factors at play:
Your Social Circle
Who you surround yourself with influences your habits; this is nothing new. What we may not have considered is how our boundary placement, or pursuit towards immediate gratification, may parallel those we spend time with. Spending more time around people we most wish to emulate makes a difference. Whether or not we are in a position to do this, being aware of the habits, big and small, that others project may help us drive our own best practices.
Break the Goal into Smaller Steps
Sometimes immediate gratification is appealing because we are unaware of the progress we are making. If we break a task, project, or day into parts, we can celebrate wins along the way. When we are present with the successes that we are already achieving, we may be less inclined to reach externally for fulfillment.
Where you invest time and energy may encourage (or discourage) you from avoiding unneeded rewards. By finding fulfillment in a particular environment, you may also be training your brain to adopt the habits that you embody while there. Your brain may perceive those habits as good and helpful for you, whether or not they are. Choosing a setting that brings out the most desirable version of you is key.
Uncertainty About the Future
If the future is uncertain or seems distant, you may have difficulty connecting your present actions to future outcomes. This can lead to a focus on immediate rewards rather than long-term goals.
In a world of such abundance, what is one to do? Reassuring oneself that there will be future enjoyable experiences can be very helpful in the present when one is forgoing gratification. This will allow our modern mind to overcome ancient instincts to reach for that extra serving or to play the extra episode.
If you have a trajectory, you have reason to opt for future gratification. If you know you’re going to celebrate a great victory, it can be easier to turn away an oncoming distraction. By going this route, you are further cementing in the habit of delayed gratification.
To be sure, this doesn’t mean that we should leave behind all immediate gratification.
This does, however, leave us with a few key questions: What habits are helping us, and what are holding us back?
What habits, if left behind, would propel us to even larger wins?
Do you have comments, ideas, questions, or suggestions? Share with us at: [email protected]