How Delayed Gratification Can Improve Our Lives

How Delayed Gratification Can Improve Our Lives

We all want everything quick- Be it food, stuff, information or entertainment.

And there are so many services out there to satisfy this wish- One day delivery, instant streaming, and quick food ordering. You must be wondering- What’s wrong? But let me share some facts:

  • Instant Gratification may force us to focus only on our short-term goals and procrastinate over the long-term ones. Scientific studies show that we get a dopamine boost when we complete or achieve something and this is why we tend to pick up the shorter tasks and don’t want to pick up the ones which do not reap benefits quickly.
  • Instant Gratification may make us anxious and impatient. While fast internet speed and fast food delivery is something we all wish for, but learning to wait is an important skill and healthy for our brains. Science has proved that it develops longer attention spans and improves memory skills, which paves the way towards self-regulatory skills.
  • Instant Gratification does not teach the value of waiting or being patient when it comes to Kids. Waiting is an important social skill and just like any other skill, it needs to be inculcated in Kids. If our kids don’t learn any skills to help them cope with waiting, they will not be well equipped for it when it comes (which is certain). So find some opportunities for your kids to practice waiting.
  • Instant Gratification makes us buy the things which we don’t really need. We see a beautiful eye-catchy thing in the store or online and instantly want to acquire them without giving our brain the chance to think over it. This results in mindless shopping and regrets or replacements later.
  • Instant Gratification makes us choose quick food options over healthy meals and may result in obesity. When we are hungry, we don’t really look at food from a health perspective. We tend to indulge in something that gives quick satiates our taste buds. To avoid this, we shall not starve ourselves and carry some healthy munchies along. 

Although, we all engage in instant gratification in some form or the other and it doesn’t really hurt occasionally but constantly fulfilling the immediate desire while ignoring long-term benefits, is not healthy for our mind and bodies.

Examples of Instant vs Delayed Gratification

Examples of Instant vs Delayed Gratification

Our everyday is filled with so many instances of choosing instant pleasures over delayed rewards.

  1. Indulging in a high-calorie treat instead of a snack that will contribute to good health.
  2. Hitting snooze button instead of getting up early.
  3. Going out to have fun instead of finishing a paper or studying for an exam.
  4. Staying up late to go out for drinks or checking social media instead of getting a good night’s sleep on a weekday night.
  5. Buying a Home or luxuries on loan instead of waiting until you have saved enough money to buy it without credit.
  6. Spending your limited money on the things which are only trendy or attractive.
  7. Jumping into brand collaborations or product promotions for the freebies.
  8. Watching TV rather than talking to your partner.
  9. Scrolling through social media rather than attending to your child’s needs.
  10. Sharing the pictures you clicked a moment ago over social media.

How Delayed Gratification can improve your life

How Delayed Gratification can improve your life

By helping you choose healthy options for your body

Did you ever noticed yourself rewarding yourself with sweets or fried food? Occasionally this is fine but making this a habit is not good. So when it comes to food, practicing delayed gratification helps us in controlling our food patterns and cutting down the calories.

By helping you avoid impulse buying

Many times we tend to get attracted to eye-catchy stuff and indulge in impulse buying. A normal stroll may lure us to buy a thing or 2 without any need. Moreover, online shopping and options like easy return has worsen the situation. So practicing delayed gratification helps us in controlling our buying desires, avoiding unnecessary shopping and saves us money.

By helping you to meet your long-term goals

This is the biggest problem with new generations. We tend to focus only on quick returns or favors rather than long-term benefits and spend our limited time and energy into the things that will not gonna serve us any purpose in future. So practicing delayed gratification can help us in saying no to immediate favors and help us work on our dreams.

By helping you to focus on more important things

We tend to lose the sight of our real goal while running behind more tempting activities. Like going out rather than working on our next-day assignment or priority work. But when we plan and decide the things beforehand, we are less likely to change our mind. So planning helps us in delaying our gratification of choosing what is best for us.

By helping you avoid taking credit

By imagining the pleasure a new thing brings, we tend to buy them on credit or loan without thinking much about practical. Rather than feeling the guilt later, we can avoid taking credit and the stress it brings. Wish to own a house at young age or buying a luxurious car may force us into borrowing or loaning huge amounts which may bring the stress if failed to repay. Delaying the gratification that owning brings; you may save yourself from unnecessary worry.

By helping us to improve our relationships

We tend to choose easy or more tempting activity than choosing something that will strengthen our relationship with our loved ones. Scrolling through social media or binging on Netflix seems more lucrative than talking to our partner or parent or kids. By delaying the gratification of choosing the pleasurable act, we can focus on our relationships.


Delayed gratification is not as natural as its counterpart- Instant gratification but it can be practiced when we plan things beforehand and have clarity about our goals.

While we are getting good at practicing delayed gratification when it comes to getting married, having Kids, and choosing a stable career. We also need to focus more on delaying this gratification feeling when it comes to buying, working on our long-term goals, and investing in our relationships.

Delaying gratification certainly helps. Ask any elder around you and they will be happy to share the anecdotes from their life that involved delayed gratification.

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Mitadru - Podcast

Upasna, A comeback Minimalist who has started her podcast to simplify Minimalism. She loves to talk about the environment, sustainability, and how Minimalism leads to freedom.

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