I can’t tell you how many times I have played out conversations like this in my mind:
I know I don’t have the money right now, but this purse is on sale and I really like it and deserve it. I can just put it on my credit card and I will pay for it when I get my tax return.
I told myself I would go to that Zumba class, but I’m feeling really tired and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on tonight so I’m just going to skip it. Besides, there’s a class tomorrow I can go to.
Oh wow, that cupcake looks amazing! I know I am supposed to be detoxing from sugar, but one little cupcake won’t hurt. I will just start my detox back up tomorrow.
You can see that in all these scenarios, I gave in to immediate gratification at the expense of doing what was truly best for me in the long run.
It turns out that we as humans, are wired to choose what feels best today over what we want for tomorrow. We can’t stand to feel like we are losing out on something today. It’s much easier to forecast losing out on it in the future.
This is why you tell yourself you will start your workout plan tomorrow, or start chipping away at your debt with your next paycheck, or cut back on the sweets come Monday. You don’t feel a sense of loss in that moment because you truly aren’t giving up anything.
In order to stop giving in to immediate gratification (especially if it’s getting in the way of you achieving your goals), you have to reframe your thinking to no longer focus on what you are giving up or losing, and instead, think about what you are gaining.
Here are some examples using the conversations I listed above:
I know I don’t have the money right now, but this purse is on sale and I really like it and deserve it. However, if I don’t buy this purse, I will have more financial freedom and I won’t be tied down to credit card debt.
I told myself I would go to that Zumba class, but I’m feeling really tired and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on tonight. However, if I attend the class I will feel so proud of myself after, and I will have one of my three workouts done for the week.
Oh wow, that cupcake looks amazing! I know I am supposed to be detoxing from sugar, but one little cupcake won’t hurt. However, if I don’t eat the cupcake, I will feel really good physically and mentally and I will prove to myself that I can live without sugar.
In that moment when you are about to go against your best intentions, remind yourself of what you will be gaining if you don’t give in to immediate gratification.
What is one area of your life that you can stop giving in to immediate gratification? What will you gain by doing so? Please share in the comments below!
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