Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in two directions? Like there are two different sides of you, that want distinctly different things? One side says chicken, the other side says cheesecake. One side says productive day, the other side say Netflix day. One side says reading by candle light, the other side says too many martinis on a Tuesday.
We all have these internal struggles and debates with ourselves, some of which are so under the radar that we aren’t even conscious of them. We’re all working towards being happy, but what is happy? Is it the chicken or the cheesecake?
These are just examples that illustrate what this internal struggle is often really about: immediate versus delayed gratification. It’s that primitive sense of ‘want, want right now’ versus ‘wait, work, fulfill my true desires’.
Immediate gratification is just what it sounds like: that immediate feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, it comes with a price. The satisfaction ‘high’ doesn’t last. When you’re too busy responding to tempting stimulus without thinking, this often gets in the way of your long term goals. Why? Because your not thinking long term. Your thinking short term. You’re thinking right now.
You have to put off what you want now in order to achieve what you want in the long run.
This is so much easier to preach than practice. We promise ourselves that we’ll get physically healthy, eat well, save money, get organized, but yet we act in ways that are counterproductive to our goals because of this. Realize that you are getting in your own way. Realize that you have the power to change this.
Here are some tips to delay gratification when working towards those long term goals:
- Don’t put yourself in tempting environments. If your goal is to save money, stay away from the mall. If you want to eat well, don’t accept the invite for dinner and drinks at Boston Pizza with your friends. You don’t just have to turn these options down. Actively engage in the situation and pick options that are going to be more beneficial to your plan!
- Keep a reminder of your goal. It could be a dream board, it could be the background on your phone, but constantly remind yourself why you’re making these sacrifices. Our WHY drives us, it’s the meaning behind everything we do, so you want to keep that in check!
- Learn to say no. To yourself and to others. Saying no isn’t supposed to be awkward, it’s supposed to be empowering. In your mind this isn’t as easy as “I don’t want it”. Maybe you do want it. But you say NO and make a conscious, powerful, selfish (yes that’s okay) decision for yourself.
If you can nail this, you not only have a better chance of reaching those goals, but reaching them SOONER. Eliminate the effect of those road blocks. Delay what you want now for what you need later, and set yourself free from those distractions.
Happy goal setting!