A valuable lesson that we can learn in the pursuit of body and lifestyle goals is the 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
You’re at a party, you are around platters of delicious and tempting foods when you are trying to lose weight. If you give in and over eat all the delicious food, it might derail your diet, but you will get to enjoy a bit of instant gratification.
If you manage to resist and spend the night eating lighter foods, and munching on the veggie sticks instead, then you will possibly receive an even greater reward down the line—ie: losing weight, being able to wear those bathers or fit into your favourite pair of jeans.
Choosing a long-term reward over immediate gratification is often a major challenge for people in many areas of their lives. From avoiding a slice of chocolate cake when we are trying to lose weight to staying home instead of going out to a party with friends, or choosing to exercise when you “can’t be bothered”…..the ability to delay gratification can mean the difference between achieving your goals or not.
1. Eat a whole pizza today and feel great in the moment 🍕but harm my ultimate goal for the future.
2. Settle for a chicken salad wrap now 🥗and reap the rewards days, weeks or months from now.
- Choose to hit snooze on my alarm in the morning or lay on the couch as soon as I get home from work and know that I’ll be getting some rest.
- I can get up as soon as my alarm goes off and reap the rewards for the next 24 hours, weeks, months.
With either choice there will be an immediate result: Fulfilled from pizza or less satisfied from a salad. Got some extra sleep or buzzing from the workout you just did. T𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲.
See there is a gap of time that exists between your action and the result.
Meaning: if you choose 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗱 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 most of the time you will see long term success.
But this is where most can’t see it. That gap of time between action and result can be frustrating. We’re so used to getting what we want when we want it, and we’re not willing to wait.
However if you can understand and TRUST that it is part of the process you can sit back and enjoy the process.
Some strategies that might help you improve your ability to delay gratification:
Set Realistic Deadlines
When trying to achieve a goal, such as losing weight, people are sometimes prone to setting either unrealistic deadlines or benchmarks. For example, a person trying to lose weight might set themselves up for failure if they set an unrealistic goal to lose 10kgs in 10 weeks.
When he/she fails to lose those first few kgs in the first few weeks, they might then give up and give in to temptation. A more realistic goal of losing 500grams per week would allow them to see the real results of their efforts.
Delaying gratification and working on willpower is not easy, especially if you don’t even know if the required reward will ever happen. This leaves us to trust that our actions will result in reward.
The ability to put off our immediate desires to pursue long-term goals is the critical part of success.
De Mawson // TribeMVMNT Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach