Character and Consequences Practice



Delay Gratification

No matter what goal you have for yourself -eating healthier, running a 5k, saving for a house, finding a partner- they all require subgoals, small steps, towards achieving it. It’s nearly impossible to set a life changing goal one day and reach it the next. Success takes time, and some of the most worthwhile things in life require just that. But with the help of delayed gratification, you can experience pleasure while you wait. Instead of succumbing to your immediate needs, utilize delayed gratification to make your success’s that much sweeter.

Delayed gratification is defined as the ability to delay an impulse for an immediate reward to receive a more favorable reward at a later time. Essentially, it’s about learning a different level of self-control. Instead of seeking immediate rewards, pleasure, or success, you can see which goals are worth working towards and will benefit you more by waiting. This waiting game may feel rigged since you won’t know if “better” is really on its way. But nothing in life is guaranteed, so when you find something that’s worth waiting for, it almost always is.


While you should always try to live for today, there are some instances when waiting is wise. In order to practice delayed gratification you’ll need to use impulse control and non-automated thinking. It’s a habit that must be learned overtime, so the following are some ways you can increase and improve delayed gratification in action.

  • Start Small – Begin using delayed gratification in your everyday life by becoming more present and connected with where you are and what you’re doing. By turning off certain phone notifications, you’ll be able to experience moments on your terms without the impulse to get a quick fix. This is a way to improve impulse control.
  • Prioritize Time – Another way to increase impulse control and decrease automatic thinking is by consciously noticing where your time goes. Do you scroll through your phone and accidentally waste an hour multiple times a day? Or does sitting on the couch to unwind turn into all night binge watching? Start to notice when you fall into the technology trap and see if this time can be better used to improve you and your life!
  • Find Your Fuel – Discover your inner drive and what will motivate you to achieve your dreams. Create a vision board or a decision tree. Set goal milestones and treat yourself with a small reward when you reach each one. Or buy something special that you’ll only use once you’ve achieved it. Find something that excites you and helps you envision your desired future!

Delayed gratification isn’t about disappointment or destroying happiness now, it’s about increasing your joy and expectations for the future.

A person happily holding balloons in the air

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