Here are 4 Steps you Should work through
To break free from the habit of instant gratification, it’s imperative to consciously work through the following five-step process. This process of steps would develop the habits needed to pursue long-term goals and objectives.
Step 1: Know What You WantThe first step is to get a sense of where you’re going. If you don’t understand where you’re going or what you are going to be working towards, then it’s easy to get distracted by the temptations that life throws your way.
Drawing up a plan to attain your goals and vision will help you to stay focused and disciplined along your journey.
With that in mind, begin by clarifying your vision for the future. Ask yourself:
What do I want to achieve?
How will I achieve this?
Why do I want this? What are the benefits?
Why is it important to work towards this vision?
It’s crucial that you also specify your short-term objectives and priorities. This is critical because often instant gratification will squeeze its way into your life when you are indecisive or uncertain about your direction.
During these times, indulging in temptations will seem more enticing and pleasurable. On the other hand, working through the pain of trying to figure things out will be the last thing you will want to do. This is especially true when you are confronted with unexpected problems.
Step 2: Identify Potential Obstacles
Along your journey towards fulfilling your long-term vision of the future, you will confront many problems. Some of these problems will, of course, surprise you in unexpected ways. And if you’re not ready to deal with them, then you are likely to succumb to short-term pleasures that bring you momentary periods of comfort. These pleasures will essentially distract you from your problems.
For this very reason, it’s critical that you identify the temptations you might confront along your journey. These are temptations that could sidetrack you when facing adversity. Ask yourself:
What temptations could sidetrack me?
How will I handle these temptations?
At this stage, don’t make the mistake of trying to find solutions to your problems .Your problems are irrelevant. You will most certainly overcome them, as long as you don’t get caught off-guard by the temptations that life throws your way.
In the end, it’s not the problem you must worry about, but rather concern yourself with the things that could distract you from solving your problem.
Step 3: Set Clear Boundaries
It’s crucial at this stage to set clear boundaries or rules about what you will do and what you will avoid doing at all costs.
Without clear boundaries, it’s easy to fall prey to temptations. However, with clear rules in place — about what you’re allowed and not allowed to do — you will feel more in control of the events and circumstances of your life. Ask yourself:
What am I allowed to do?
What’s absolutely off limits?
Outline what kinds of behaviors you will no longer indulge in. Also, think about the long-term rewards and benefits you will derive from avoiding these potential temptations.
Step 4: Create a Reward System
Finally, take time to create a reward system that will help keep you motivated long-term.
Reward yourself not so much for what you’re doing, but instead, reward yourself for staying away from possible temptations that could distract you.
If for instance, you stay focused on your highest priority activities and don’t get caught up in the habit of instant gratification for an entire week, then reward yourself with some temporary pleasure that will satisfy your senses. However, once the reward is done, move on and get back on track.
Doing things this way will help you stay in control. Yes, you are giving yourself permission to indulge in temporary pleasures and temptations from time-to-time. However, these are not distractions but instead rewards for your efforts.
You are in control of this behavior and, therefore, you are in control of your life.It’s when your behavior controls you, and you end up falling prey to instant gratification, that is when your short-term pleasures begin getting in the way of your long-term objectives.