In today’s world we want everything now. All things must be instant, especially our wifi. While instant gratification can feel wonderful, it can lull us into some bad habits that history and science would agree come from survival instincts passed down from our early ancestors. The inverse is delayed gratification, and this practice can empower your life in all areas. Health, academia, and career are all positively affected by this psychological concept of taking a step back from obtaining an immediate reward. By making a more conscious decision to delay gratification and aim for future goals with a higher valued reward, you are joining the ranks of highly successful people.

A great example of delayed gratification in the business world would be putting your energy into starting your own business. Getting your feet off the ground will take patience and you may have to give up some immediate pleasures, but the long-term rewards will be great. A smaller example would be making your own lunch to take to work so that you can save for that beach-side vacation you have been dreaming about.

Speaking of daydreaming, visualization is one of the best strategies for helping with getting into alignment with your goals. By using your imagination to see your desired outcome, you can distract yourself from any temptations and stay firmly on your chosen trajectory. This incredible skill set of being able to let go of what will satisfy you in the current moment and keep your eye on the bigger prize is one of the best ways to rise to great heights.

An incredible side effect to this practice is self-mastery. Delayed gratification can feel hard at first because you are fighting against your own self-preservation and psychological instincts to be happy in the moment. Finding joy at picking your endgame goals over short-term can help alleviate some of the dissatisfaction that is felt when you are first starting out on this journey to rewire your brain. As you practice it more, you will get better, and success will flow with more ease. Start at the edge of your comfort zone and move from there, but just start. Your mind is one of your greatest assets, so train it to work for you!

Great ideas to help master delayed gratification:

  • Creating a vision board can help you visualize these long-term goals and making screensavers for your phone or computer is an excellent way to see it multiple times a day while working.
  • Make a playlist of music that you can listen to with the intention of feeling the inspiration you will feel when you finally achieve these goals.
  • Challenge yourself to give up your daily lattes, or some other monetary item, and set that money aside for something more expensive you have been wanting. This is great practice for large goals and money is always a great motivator. 
  • Meditation or daydream to get a clearer picture in your mind’s eye of what your end goal will look like.