Delayed gratification is one of the hardest things to master, but it becomes the foundation for overall success in life. Working when you’d rather sleep, exercising when you’d rather eat fast food, or refraining from cigarettes when you’d rather smoke are all great examples of mastering delayed gratification. While it is not easy, it is possible! Use these four tips to break the chains of your impulses and master delayed gratification.
1. Find Your Why
Why do you need to delay gratification in the first place? Thinking of the reason is often a sufficient motivator to keep you going. Make your reasons very clear and personal. For example, you may want to quit smoking to prolong your life and hold your future grandchildren. Every time you pick up a cigarette, envision being with your grandchildren in your mind. A clear mental picture of your goal will make it feel real and attainable. You are delaying gratification because you are working towards something that will result in a better life for yourself.
2. Think About Possible Consequences
Every action you take has consequences. They can be positive or negative. That’s up to you. When faced with a tough choice like exercising after work or grabbing fast food and going home, think of the consequences. A workout may be the more difficult decision, but it will take you a step further towards your goal. A fast food meal will provide instant gratification, but it will undo the hard work you’ve already put in. Each choice can be a step forward or a step back. Choose wisely.
3. Distract Yourself
Distractions are usually viewed in a negative light, but they can also be a huge help! If you find yourself wanting to act in a way that won’t push you forward towards your goals, try to distract yourself. If you keep wandering into the kitchen for a snack, get outside instead. Remove yourself from temptation’s reach by going to a park or on a hike. If you want to reach for a cigarette, go to a non-smoking building like a museum. You’ll be unable to smoke, and you’ll have something to look at to take your mind off cigarettes.
4. Have Help From a Friend
Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner! Choose someone who will hold you to your word. Someone who just gives in to your impulses won’t be any help whatsoever. Pick a trusted friend, family member, or colleague to help you. When you are tempted, give them a quick call or send a text. Ask for encouragement or distraction until the impulse passes.
You can do whatever you put your mind to, no matter how challenging it may seem! These tips and tricks will help you reach your goals if you integrate them into your daily routine. Instant gratification is a road to nowhere, but delayed gratification will take you anywhere you choose