But I Want It Now!

Here is an important question. How is it possible to change our desire for instant gratification into delayed gratification for long term positive results? To tell the truth, it’s not easy! But it is well worth the effort.

The Danger of Instant Gratification

Like a lot of folks I have to fight the battle of the bulge (like around the waist line). It is so easy to let that instant satisfaction found in a sack of Doritos or a bag of cashews replace my otherwise great common sense about good eating habits. But then I begin to pay the consequences.


As my weight gains I literally begin to suffer. A lower back injury I suffered many years ago brings on considerable pain whenever the scale reaches a certain point.

I assure you the long time pain is not worth the short time pleasure, but when faced with the opportunity to slurp down that Blizzard it is hard to turn away.

Nowhere are the consequences of instant gratification more apparent than with our money. It is so easy to buy a new cell phone; it is so challenging to save up money to buy that next car. But unless we learn to apply the option of delayed or deferred gratification there is no hope for great financial success.

Consequences of Instant Gratification

Paul J. Meyer, one of the great students of human achievement, often points out that no one does anything except to avoid a loss or to gain a benefit. Simple, isn’t it. But it gets complicated when we start talking about money exactly because of the issue of instant gratification.

For the sake of a small gain now, people often give up a large gain in the future because it is immediate. Rather than make the relatively small sacrifice of funding their IRA now instead of buying a few unnecessary “things,” they give up the opportunity of living 20 or 30 years in a comfortable, enjoyable retirement and spend their last years in poverty instead.

Take time to reflect on the consequences of instant gratification in your own life. How much better could things be for you if you just exercised enough discipline to delay gratification on a few things now for the sake of many benefits later?

Affirmations for Delayed Gratification

One of the most effective tools for changing attitudes, our habits of thought, is the use of affirmations. Try these affirmations to strengthen yourself for good decisions in the face of instant gratification attacks:

  • “I value persistence and patience in achieving my financial goals.”
  • “I consistently choose long time benefits over short time pleasures.”
  • “I honestly consider the long term consequences of every decision and act accordingly.”

Repeat these affirmations daily for at least a month and weekly thereafter for at least several months.

Enjoy the Fruits of Delayed Gratification

Earl Nightingale was possessed with great human insight and it was a joy to listen to his motivational radio broadcasts until his death just a few years ago. His theme was that we become what we think about. And it is a great truth.

If you keep thinking that delayed gratification is a hard and unpleasant necessity, it will be so; if you think that saving for long term goals is exciting you can enjoy that as well.

In fact, if you over value instant gratification you will probably fail as you get tired of the effort and decide to quit trying. On the other hand, if you keep you mind focused on your long term goals and learn to value delaying gratification and the day to day execution of your long term plans, your success is guaranteed.