Today article ends my thoughts on instant and delay gratification. I have taken my time in previous writings to expound on instant gratification, delay gratification and what you need to know about them.
Today, I present the 8 sure strategies to help you avoid falling into instant gratification trap. Staying away from the instant gratification trap is a long-term process that needs constant consideration.
The moment you let your guard down is the moment it will creep up on you. Then before you even realize it, you’ve been sucked in by temptations.
There are, however, things you can do each day that will help you to ward off this nasty habit.
1. Stop Thinking About Short-term Pleasures
This sounds simple on the surface. However, it can be quite tricky if you are surrounded by temptation.If this is true in your situation, then you must immediately transform your environment and hide or — better yet — remove the temptations altogether.
The more difficult you make accessing and indulging in temptations, the more likely you are to stay focused and on-task when problems inevitably arise.
2. Quit Justifying Your Actions
Are you making excuses and justifying your actions? There is never really a good excuse for indulging in temptations that distract you from your problems. The excuses you make are only lies you have created to make yourself feel better.
If you find that you are making endless excuses for why it’s okay to indulge in these temporary pleasures, then it’s strongly recommended that you adopt a different perspective.
Have a chat with a friend, colleague or family member and get their feedback on the situation. Hopefully, one of these people will put your excuses to shame.
3. Keep Yourself Accountable
It’s important that you always keep yourself accountable for your decisions and actions. Never deny the fact that you fell into the instant gratification trap. Acknowledge the fact that it happened, accept responsibility, and hold yourself accountable for your actions. Then right your wrongs and get yourself back on track.
You might, of course, want to ask someone else to become your accountability partner. However, they will most likely not be there by your side for 24 hours per day. And if they’re not there, then who will be accountable for your decisions and actions? You will, of course. You must take responsibility. Others can help you, but ultimately the buck stops with you.
4. Learn to Manage Self-Control
Your most significant victory over instant gratification could very well come down to how well you’re able to master self-control. You could, of course, hide all your temptations. However, to truly master self-control, all your temptations should effectively be at arm’s reach.
When things are at arm’s reach and yet, you resist these temptations time, and again, that is when you will know you have mastered self-control. Resistance, might, of course, be difficult at first.
However, over time your self-control will strengthen like a muscle. The more you use it, and the more often you resist those instant pleasures and stay focused on what’s most important, then the more control you have over yourself, over your life, and over your destiny.
5. Develop Long-Lasting Motivation
Your level of motivation is likely to dip up and down over a period of time. This is okay. It’s natural for your short-term motivation to waver as events and circumstances (some of which will be beyond your control) influence your emotional state of mind.
Don’t concern yourself too much about short-term motivation. What you should focus on instead is developing long-term motivation. Long-term motivation comes from your vision. It’s the picture you have of the future life you would like to build. Keep this in mind to help you stay focused and motivated along your journey.
You can, of course, create short-term motivation by challenging yourself. For instance, give yourself time limits for completing a task. Or turn a tedious task into a game. In fact, why not treat life as a game?
These kinds of short-term motivation strategies will help you to stay focused and on track each day. However, without the bigger picture, your short-term motivation will waver as you will have very little to look forward to down the track.
6. Create Visual Reminders of Your Goals
One of the best ways to maintain long-term motivation is to display visual reminders of your goals and priorities. This could come in the form of a vision board or in the form of a collage that represents your goals. Or it could just be photos of what you would like to achieve at some point in the future.
These visual reminders come in handy whenever you’re tempted to indulge in temptations. During such moments, take time to reflect on the visual reminders of your goals.
7. Invest in Future Gains
One of the best ways to avoid getting caught up in the instant gratification trap is to invest your time, effort, and energy into future gains. This essentially means pursuing long-term pleasures, benefits, and rewards.
For example, consider for a moment what you’re likely to gain in the long-term from every action you take. Yes, of course, the current task you’re working on might seem somewhat tedious and boring.
However, it’s one part of the bigger picture that will, therefore, lead to some significant future gains. Always remind yourself of what you are gaining long-term from every task you perform. This by itself could trigger the motivation you need to help you move forward in optimal ways.
8. Prepare for Short-term Pain
The reality of life is that we very rarely get something for nothing. This is very true when it comes to the attainment of our goals and objectives. You are going to undoubtedly need to get through a lot of short-term pain and discomfort to achieve your desired long-term outcomes. At times, this pain might not even be short-term.
You might, in fact, need to make severe sacrifices and go through some unimaginable struggles along the way. It’s during these times when the instant gratification trap will come into play. And it’s during these moments that you must resist the temptation to succumb to your urges.
Before I end my thoughts on instant gratification and delay gratification, I have a question for you.
*Do you believe that your life and long-term goals are more important than the momentary temptations that are thrown your way?*
If you honestly believe this, then you will have no troubles developing the habit of delayed gratification.
However, if you don’t quite believe this, then you will continue to experience fleeting moments of pleasure.
But unfortunately, in the end, you will not be satisfied. You will not be happy, and you will probably not be fulfilled.
At the end of your life you’ll have nothing more but a fading memory full of regrets and unfulfilled expectations.
Is this really the kind of life you want? Or do you want something better?
Peter Kwadwo Asare Nyarko
Financial Literacy Advocate | Financial Educator | Author
Contact Peter for speaking, coaching, mentoring and consulting engagements.