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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Why Instant Gratification Holds You Back from Achieving What You Want

Why Instant Gratification Holds You Back from Achieving What You Want

We often hear advice like “live in the moment” and “the time is now.” These are wise words, and being mindful of the present moment is an excellent way to live well. However, getting everything we want when we want it is not necessarily good for us. Instant gratification can make us complacent and lazy.

In this article, you will learn why immediate gratification holds you back from achieving what you want, and what you can do to overcome impulsive behavior and short-term pleasure.

Why You Are Tempted Into Instant Gratification

We have access to fast everything—information, food, technology, entertainment, comfort. We don’t have to exert a lot of effort into fulfilling our desires and, in many cases, we can purchase goods and services in an instant that will gratify our every requirement. Social media has trained us to want things here and now.

What we don’t consider are the lessons and benefits we miss out on when we don’t resist temptation and delay fulfillment. We experience personal growth when we work harder to achieve satisfaction. We also take for granted the value of aiming for long-term goals and benefitting from the process by which we reach contentment.

Minimalist blogger and author Leo Babauta points out that we don’t have to deprive ourselves of the good things in life in order to achieve balance. It’s simply a matter of restraint and mindfulness—being conscious about the decisions we make and having boundaries.

He says that instant gratification “leads to debt, clutter, bad health, distractions, mindlessness,” while practicing deferred gratification and consciousness “leads to simplicity, health and fitness, focus, achievement, mindfulness, appreciation for all the gifts of life.”[1]

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Do You Struggle with Instant Gratification? You Must Try These 5 Steps

    In a luxury- and technology-centered world, it is easy to become detached from our core values and the important things in life[2]. We start to give priority to superficial things: objects, material wealth, acquisition, and appearance[3].

    We discard the need to acknowledge the future and possible consequences for our actions. We don’t consider waste, damage to our health or the environment, or other possible adverse effects of our actions in the pursuit of immediate gratification. We lose the desire to experience the pleasure of achieving long-term goals and their positive outcomes.

    Why Is Instant Gratification Bad for You?

    Instant gratification can feel good in the moment, but it can often get you into a routine of seeking out short-term fixes for long-term problems. Here are some reasons instant gratification is bad for you and how you can fix it.

    1. The Feeling Doesn’t Last

    Your dissatisfaction with short-lived pleasure causes your needs to be magnified the next time you seek fulfillment. This can often lead to disastrous and largely unforeseen costs, like addiction.

    There are many examples of this. Overindulging in food, alcohol or drugs, technology such as the internet, gaming and gambling, even seemingly harmless indulgences like shopping or improving body image through diet and fitness can become obsessive and have counterproductive results.

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    How to Overcome It

    This doesn’t mean we have to completely discard our opportunities to enjoy these things. We just need to have limits, and we need to be aware of how we do things and how much or how often we indulge.

    That is the difference between living our life and wasting it. Of course, it is wise to live in the present and take advantage of the things that make us happy, but we need to do things in a healthy way and plan for the future. It takes foresight and consideration to ensure we achieve a balance.

    2. You Can Lose Motivation and Control

    When we feel the need for instant gratification and constant stimulation, we can lose motivation to achieve goals that aren’t bringing in fast results. We may begin to feel a loss of control as our mind seeks out anything to offer a reward.

    Short-term gratification will get in the way of your long-term goals. Your mind may not be used to having to wait, and patience will become a serious issue.

    How to Overcome It

    Being mindful of the urges you experience is primary. Trying keeping a list of every time you get the urge to do something, and instead of fulfilling it, just making a note of it. Examples of these urges include snacking, checking your phone, or buying something unnecessary.

    Instead of denying your urges completely, just delay the gratification. Put some space between when you feel an urge and when you gratify it. This will train your brain to wait, which will make it easier next time.

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    For more tips on how to increase motivation, check out this article.

    3. Your Awareness Will Diminish

    If you’re constantly giving in to in-the-moment desires through immediate gratification, you’re not taking the time to analyze what’s happening or notice how you’re feeling or what you’re doing. Impatience or boredom will become foreign, and getting out of those states will become your biggest priority.

    How to Overcome It

    The key is to practice consciousness and hone your awareness of what is happening in your mind and in your body through mindfulness. We sometimes indulge urges without even thinking, and before we know it, we’ve devoured the entire tub of ice cream or put another $1000 in a poker machine.

    If that’s exactly what you want to do, then fine, but know that what you are doing is a conscious decision and own it. Take responsibility for it.

    These skills take practice, and it is important to allow yourself to learn lessons in good time. If instant gratification has been your way of life for a long time, don’t expect it to change overnight. Just get better with each experience. Allow yourself to fail and try and do better the next time an opportunity to practice resistance and mindfulness comes along.

    4. You Lose the Moment

    If you indulge urges, your mind is so focused on the indulgence that it blocks out everything else. Delaying gratification can heighten your awareness of a specific moment and help you learn how to experience it with a sense of peace instead of frustration or desperation.

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    How to Overcome It

    After practicing this kind of mindfulness, you will have the strength and discipline to enjoy the moment without actually indulging in immediate gratification. It gives us a great sense of accomplishment and achievement when we realize how capable we are of exercising willpower. These skills can be extremely rewarding and sometimes lifesaving; quitting smoking is a prominent example that comes to mind.

    Check out this article for more on how to live in the moment.

    Final Thoughts

    Investing in our future is underrated. With focus and repetition, we can learn to plan for our goals in the long run and minimize our need for instant gratification. We can find a balance and still be able to enjoy the best things in life without overindulging and making decisions that will affect our lives adversely.

    Sit with boredom instead of fighting it. Analyze feelings of desperation instead of trying to immediately calm them. This will all take time, but it will lead to less reliance on immediate gratification, which will ultimately be completely worth it.

    More on Instant Gratification

    Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Diane Koopman

    Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

    5 Things Most People Overlook When Setting Goals This Is How Mentally Strong People Deal With Guilt How to Grow Old Gracefully: 10 Ways You May Not Have Considered instant gratification Why Instant Gratification Holds You Back from Achieving What You Want How I Found My Passion to Make Everyday of My Life Exciting

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    Published on February 23, 2021

    What Are Vision Boards And Why They Work

    What Are Vision Boards And Why They Work

    We hear people saying that vision boards are a fad, that they are not worth doing, and that they should be forgotten. However, this is simply not true. Vision boards can be very useful, and they are definitely worth taking the time to create. That is why so many celebrities and notable figures in the world are choosing to create and use them.

    Beyonce has been known to use vision boards to help her with her future goals, as has Oprah Winfrey and if they work for these two incredibly powerful and talented women, then it makes sense that anyone can benefit from them.

    But what are they? Rather than simply being a collection of images, vision boards are so much more than that.

    To help you to learn more, I have put together our guide to what they are, how they can be made in four steps, and why you should make an effort to make a vision board for yourself.

    What Is a Vision Board?

    We all have visions and goals that we want to achieve. They may be in our personal lives, or they may be in our careers and businesses. While we may know what it is that we want to achieve, this doesn’t mean that it is always easy to focus on our goals.

    The idea of a vision board is that it is a visual representation of what we want to achieve. We can use it to show our end goal and where we see ourselves being in the future. Not only this, but a vision board will also help you show the process of how you envisage getting to these end goals.

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    A vision board can be made from a variety of images. What you choose will really depend on you. However, you need to make sure that it reminds you of what your goal is and what it means to you. They should be something that you want to display and that is as eye-catching as possible.

    Colour and texture are key parts of any vision board. However, how you use them is entirely down to you and you alone.

    How To Create a Vision Board?

    Making a vision board may sound straightforward, however, it can be more complicated than you realize. There are plenty of things that you need to think about along the way.

    While the way that you make your vision board will really depend on you, there are 4 steps that you should follow to make sure that it is clear and useful for you in the long run.

    Step 1: Define Your Goals

    The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you define your goals. To do this, you need to list the areas of your life that you consider to be most important to you. We can’t tell you what these are since they are a personal choice. However, some of the most common examples of these areas include your family, relationship, hobbies, friends, fitness, well-being, and finances.

    When you have identified what areas of your life are most important to you right now, then you can start to drill down even further into them and identify what goals you have within them.

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    If you focus on sports and fitness, then maybe you want to teach yoga or train in a sport. If travel is important to you, then maybe plan a trip around the world. If you want to expand your mind, you could identify an instrument or language that you want to learn and if you are thinking about your career (and maybe your finances, too), then starting a business could be a key goal for you.

    You shouldn’t spend too much time on this, else there is a chance that you may overthink things rather than letting them come to you. Only spend around 10 minutes on this step. Make sure that you write down anything that comes to mind as you can use these things later on.

    Step 2: Gather Your Inspiration

    Once you know what your goals are, then you need to start thinking about how you can create a visual representation of these goals. Think about words and images that match in with what you want to achieve.

    Of course, the most obvious place to look for these images is in magazines, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to only magazines. Other great places that you can use for inspiration for your vision board include:

    • Postcards
    • Stickers
    • Wrapper paper
    • Materials
    • Things from nature
    • Online searches

    When you see something that works for you, then cut it out or even rip it out and place it on one side. You may be surprised by just where you can find your inspiration, and you shouldn’t discount something just because it doesn’t fit in with what you think should inspire you.

    This step will take a little longer than the last. So, you might want to make sure that you have a nice cup of your favorite hot drink—ready to browse through and find your inspiration.

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    Step 3: Map Out How You Want Your Board to Look

    Now, we have got to the point where you can start thinking about what your vision board is going to look like. You will need to grab some things for this step. You will need some cardboard (the bigger the better), scissors, glue sticks, markers, fabric, decorate tape, stickers, gems, or sequins.

    To start, you just want to lay your images out on your board. You don’t want to glue anything until you know how you want them to be arranged. The last thing that you want is to stick things down, commit to that setup, and then find out that you want to change them.

    Once you are happy with how things look, then you can stick it all down. You may want to use some of the added decorative things that you have put together, such as decorative tape, sequins, stickers or simply use different pens or paints to add color.

    The main thing to remember is that your vision board is all about you, so what you create should be appealing to you. You can look online for help on how to put things together and make up your board but, ultimately, you need to focus on it being a representation of you.

    Step 4: Make It Happen

    The last thing on the list is to make sure that you bring your vision board to life. First, you need to make sure that you display it in a place where you will be able to see it. After all, that is the main reason for taking the time to make your vision board in the first place.

    Display it in a place that you go to every single day. This could be a home office, your bedroom, or perhaps in a hallway before you leave the house every day. Having it there will remind you that you need to follow those dreams and achieve those goals and will also show you how you can do it.

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    Then, it is down to you. Do whatever you need to do to make it happen. Push yourself and focus on what you want to achieve. You may make excuses and you may sometimes think that you just can’t do it, but I promise you that you can—that you will one day get there. Of course, your vision board is just a part of the process, and really, it is down to you to make it happen. So, do it!

    Why Do They Work?

    We know that vision boards sound like they are a lot of work, but the truth is, they are as hard as you make them. Not only this, but they are well worth putting all that effort into to create them.

    With a vision board, you will able to see what it is that you want in the future and identify how you can get there. When you can see it, there, in front of you, then you are going to want to get there, and you are going to feel much more motivated to work towards these goals. Not only this, but the process of making a vision board is more fun than you may realize. This means that you can look forward to doing it rather than ignoring those goals and stopping yourself from achieving what you want in the future.

    More Tips on Creating Vision Boards

    Featured photo credit: Andy Art via unsplash.com

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