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Patience Pays Off: Practicing Delayed Gratification

Beeps, buzzes, dings, and rings. Notifications are all around us. Because so many of us are tethered to our devices, we’ve become accustomed to grabbing them the second we hear a chime. In the age of social media, it seems our brains are getting used to instant gratification. Sadly, the rest of the world doesn’t operate that way. Good quality work, focus, and accomplishment take time. This brings us to an important part of everyone’s growth: practicing delayed gratification. 

You know what they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” No great civilization was built in a day. They all took hundreds of years to flourish. Your dreams and goals won’t take hundreds of years—hopefully, but when you shift your focus to long-term goals and achievements, your patience pays off!

Keep your vision in mind.

The sky, scene from the center of a circular piece of architecture.

When it comes to practicing delayed gratification, your vision should always be the motivating factor. If you’ve decided to start intermittent fasting, it’s going to take some time to get used to not eating at the times you normally would. That early 11:00 a.m. lunch you’ve been taking for the last three years is going to be calling your name. However, delaying that gratification for an extra hour will not only make the meal taste that much better, but it will also help you achieve what you’re trying to accomplish by intermittent fasting.

If your vision is to become a homeowner and stop renting, you’ll probably sacrifice dining out to start saving money for a down payment. Suppose you’re someone who is easily distracted by cravings or desires. In this case, consider creating a vision or dream board to help keep your vision in mind.

Believe in yourself.

A hand places on a chalkboard that has the word “possible” written on it.

A big part of delayed gratification is related to self-control. And it’s hard to feel in control of yourself if you don’t believe in yourself. So don’t just practice positive affirmations and soak in people’s support. That’s not enough. On top of that, start showing yourself that you are capable. 

You are capable of whatever you set your mind to, including staying in control of your actions, reactions, and emotions. The best way to demonstrate that to yourself is to prove it. Before every action or reaction, think, “I am in control. This is what I want to do and here’s why.” Every time an emotion becomes distracting or overpowering, remember, “I’m allowed to feel this way, but I cannot let it get the best of me. I make the decisions, not my emotions.”

Doing this will not only give you more self-confidence, but it will boost your self-control as well. And when you make a mistake, you will hold yourself accountable for it—and be better because of it.

Establish helpful habits.

A green neon sign says “habits to be made.”

Developing habits that support your long-term goals is a powerful way to promote delayed gratification. Identify the good habits that help you reach your objectives and incorporate them into your daily routine. Whether it’s dedicating time each day to skill development, exercise, or networking, consistent actions compound over time, leading to significant results.

By making these habits permanent parts of your routine, you reinforce the importance of long-term thinking. Progress becomes the norm and the satisfaction you get from these small wins will be enough motivation to stay committed to your primary goals.

Build a support system.

Two fists come together for a fist-bump.

Surround yourself with individuals who share a similar mindset and understand what practicing delayed gratification means. A support network will give you encouragement during challenging times and help you stay accountable for your long-term goals. Share your ambitions and dreams with friends, family, or leaders, and seek guidance when tough choices arise. 

Having supportive people in your life also means you have trustworthy sources to pull ideas, inspiration, and strategies from—to help you be as dedicated to delayed gratification as possible!

Patience pays off when you’re building your future!

The word future is spelled out with blocky black letters, laying on a light blue surface.

While you’re practicing delayed gratification, keep in mind that big, impactful changes happen over long periods of time. Every step of your journey adds to the overall positive changes that you’re enacting for your future. Use your support system, healthy habits, self-belief, and vision to help you maintain your course for greatness!

If you start to feel like none of the work is worth the results, or you grow impatient, start shifting your attitude to a more positive and hopeful one!