Overcome instant gratification

Darryl Bachmeier
Mar 19, 2020

The urge to eat a whole bar of chocolate in bed. Hitting the snooze button for that extra 5 minutes of sleep. Going out with friends instead of studying. Buying things that you cannot really afford now. The urge to spend all of your time with your partner instead of working on your career.

Do you have an instant gratification monkey in your head? When a rational decision-maker holds the wheel, you plan to get some work done. Then instant gratification monkey takes over the wheel, and you end up watching YouTube videos until 4am.

As you could read at the beginning, instant gratification can come in many forms. So what is wrong with getting some instant gratification? After all, don’t we live only once? Isn’t life meant to be fully enjoyed?

You should enjoy your life, but you should not waste it. Just consider how long you are supposed to live. It will give you a sense of time you have to enjoy things. You do not really need instant gratification when you can work on achieving genuine happiness. Such happiness is not immediate, but it is long lasting. Let us consider two ways of life.

One is without limits and restraints. It is a life of pleasurable food and the riches of the Internet. You can play video games, watch TV the whole day and drink until you drop. It is a life of bad health, debt, distractions, clutter, and mindlessness. All it really is a result of a childish mind.

The other one is with consciousness and a little restraint. It is a life of eating healthy food in moderation, enjoying the Internet with limits so you can work, getting away from the TV to enjoy nature and stay active, not focusing on material things and being mindful. It is a life of health and fitness, achievement, simplicity, focus appreciation, and mindfulness.

If you are ready to let go of the first way of life and embrace the other one, read on. I am going to tell you how you can overcome instant gratification.

See the urges arise

Who in this world doesn’t have urges? Such a person does not exist. Some of us are only better at controlling them. You will have the urge to check your social media, eat junk food, procrastinate, and look for distractions. All of us have such urges, but not all of us act on them. The first thing you need to is to notice when the urges appear.

Do not act right away

Do not act on the urge as soon as it arises but pause instead. Delay. Make sure that there is space between your action and the urge. Focus on your breathing and let it become a bit deeper. Wait for your heartbeat to go back to normal and calm down.

Make decisions consciously

So maybe you will want to indulge in something sweet, and that is okay. However, make sure you make a conscious decision. Do not just follow every urge. Take a second to really think about it and decide what the right way to go is. Try to always choose what is healthy for you. Consider if you can afford such a thing and whether it is right for your body and mind. Do not just try to gratify your desires but make decisions consciously.

Pay attention to how your decisions will turn out

Learn from it. Sometimes you will give in to your urges, and that is perfectly fine. After all, all of us do it sometimes. However, the important thing is to notice how it made you feel afterward. You can learn whether it was the right decision from how it made you feel afterward. Therefore, the next time you have to make a decision, you can remember the previous time and decide differently. For example, if the last time made you feel bloated and gassy, make a conscious decision that you do not want to feel that way again. As long as you pay attention to how your decisions will turn out, you will make better ones.

Enjoy the moment without instant gratification

You did not follow the urge, and now you can enjoy that moment of mindfulness. Of course that you should enjoy life, but life can be enjoyed in different ways. How about eating an apple the next time you want to eat chocolate. When you get the urge to eat chocolate, stop, and breathe. Make a conscious decision not to do it. Enjoy an apple instead. It is healthier. It can lead to the same happiness as long as you know why you have decided what you did. Enjoy the sense of pride since you did not fall into the temptation of granting your every wish. You were stronger than the instant gratification monkey, and you can be stronger every time. All it takes is a little effort, and you can enjoy your life in a healthier way.

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