Tell me what you want, what you really really want

One thing that is common among every self help book you’ll ever read is that one of the main factors of a good life is delaying gratification

Firstly, what is delayed gratification?

Put simply, it’s the process of choosing the ‘right’ option for the long term rather than the one that would bring the most immediate pleasure

Just one more episode before bed might be what you want to do now, but you know you’ll feel better tomorrow if you get some sleep

When your alarm goes off in the morning, a lie in is obviously more desirable than training

Do you actually need that biscuit?

Stuff like that

The more often we take the ‘right’ option, the better our life becomes in the long run

Delayed gratification, interpreted properly (I don't mean that 'I'll sleep when I'm dead pseudo-alpha nonsense), is the route to better health, better relationships, better work, better mental health

But as with most things that are good for you, it's not always easy

So how can we make delayed gratification easier?

Start with why

While your head is clear, make a note of what you actually want and why.

Make a note of what you need to do to move closer to that goal.

Make a note of what you sacrifice by choosing the easier option.

Revisit the note when you feel your will power wavering.

Remove the obstacles

If you’re on a diet and you know you can’t be in the vicinity of a chocolate hobnob without demolishing the pack, don't have them in the house. At the very least put them somewhere you wont come across by accident.

Sometimes the obstacles are people, but that’s another blog altogether

Reward yourself

It would be nice if our brains were wired for this stuff, but they’re not.

We’re animals and our brains are wired to associate an action with an outcome.

That’s difficult to do when the desired outcome is somewhere out there in the future rather than immediate.

Developing a system where you reward yourself for choosing the right option can get you around this to start off with.

The key thing to remember here is that negative emotions are more likely to hinder your progress with this than help it, so it’s important not to beat yourself up when you ‘slip up’

A big help may be to receive regular reminders to keep you on track, they might even come in the form of regular emails

If that’s sounds like a good idea, you can input your email address here on the site (you can opt out any time)

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