Overcome The Need For Instant Gratification By Delaying Your Urges

Overcome The Need For Instant Gratification By Delaying Your Urges

Instant gratification is the enemy of hard work and the development of perseverance. By forcing yourself to wait when you feel an urge for something easy — like an unhealthy snack or a shortcut that will affect your work — you can give yourself the opportunity to make the better choice.

Photo by Yedda Team

Leo Babauta at Zenhabits explains that, yes, life is meant to be enjoyed, but it’s also not meant to be wasted. Instant gratification is the way of no limits and no restraints. It can lead to poor habits, financial trouble, and our greatest enemy: laziness. Babauta suggests that you always know the right decision, but that you need to give yourself a moment to see it:

Instead of acting on the urge right when it arises, pause. Don’t act right away. Put some space between the urge and your action. Let your heartbeat return to normal, your breathing become a bit deeper. Calm down.

By stepping away from that urge to take the easy route, you’ll become stronger and make better, more conscious decisions.

A Brief Guide to Overcoming Instant Gratification [Zenhabits]


  • Yep sure, be “better” with a sentence. I guess if I get hungry at midnight on a Friday and have a packet of noodles then my life “leads to debt, clutter, bad health, distractions, mindlessness.” If only I could just not have my noodles and live a life that “leads to simplicity, health and fitness, focus, achievement, mindfulness, appreciation for all the gifts of life.” What if… I’m able to eat noodles every day… What if I can eat noodles and not be in debt and retain my mindfulness? Is this even possible? What if I can play video games every day, finish my degree, masters and get a job? Does this destroy the space/time continuum? Did I mention I’m not dead yet?

    Oh WHY?! WHY?!

    Seriously, why are we constantly drawing arbitrary lines of morality in the sand? I mean the language in the linked piece is pretty darn forceful and ignorant to almost all lifestyles that aren’t the writer’s. I used to have friends who both drove and rode, ones who were vegan and ones who weren’t, ones who gave to charity and ones who didn’t. We lost the ability to coexist when we put so much importance onto what makes us “better” if there is such a thing. Be yourself; write resumes that you feel comfortable with not that one on the internet that’s supposed to be what every recruiter LOVES but actually is what ONE recruiter loves. Eat some dirty but delicious food, play some games, watch some movies, cause some trouble and don’t do it in moderation. Just don’t die and don’t hurt anyone else and don’t listen to assholes who know the secrets of the universe, they’re usually too ego-centric to accept any different.

    And don’t judge everyone, can’t stress that enough.

  • No you cannot eat noodles and have a life. Don’t be absurd.

    Yes, be yourself a little. If we’re all attempting to improve ourselves by complying with a box of rules, we’ll all be a bunch of boxes running around, or doing whatever boxes do.

    I’m not an artist, but I have art in my life. I do things my way. Why? Because it’s my freaking life. Why should I restrict myself for you? You are not me. If you were, then I’d live my life how you want me to, but you’re not. So…

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