Instant Gratification-the enemy of Progress

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions in the year 2015. The year before, 2014, I had my list of resolutions written down and ready for implementation. I can recall how motivated and determined I felt knowing that 2014 would be my year. The list comprised of some bad habits I needed to stop and some new habits that I wanted to develop with time.

It was a challenge trying to keep all the seven things in mind as the days of 2014 came and went but in the end, I ended up falling back into my bad habits and the good habits were never formed. Even worse, I fell off the wagon on the second day of the New Year. It was a bad feeling, a feeling of loss and defeat.  I later moved on and waited for the next year for another fresh start. Now looking back to it, I can see where I went wrong, I can see why I never actually did anything I had written on that list and it is not that complicated.

One thing I had on the list was working out. I had just begun my 20s and the first thing I wanted more than anything was a great body.  So just like anyone else, I wrote it down and decided to find gym near me. The problem was that the only time I could workout was in the morning. I had to wake up at around 5 walk to the gym for about 40 minute’s workout and be back in time to attend my class at 10am. I never really considered any of this when I was making the resolution, I also forgot how much I loved sleep,  I just wrote it down and enjoyed the feeling of euphoria it gave me. It was at this point that I discovered a thing called instant gratification and its impact on my actions.

Since then, I have seen it everywhere with everybody I meet. We all know of a friend who keeps talking about a project they need to finish or something they need to do but end up doing leisure activities like watching movies, this is instant gratification. By definition, it is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. This is how it works.

Imagine I have a school project due next week on the 15th. To finish it in time means I have to get busy right away but instead I decide to watch a movie or series. In this case, I choose to relax first rather than work first and relax later.

Instant gratification also applies in working out where a person may choose to enjoy junk foods rather than stick to a healthy diet and lose some weight. It applies in academics where students choose leisure activities over course work and end up rushing to read everything two days to the exam. It applies in life where one may choose to sleep over getting up and working on their goals. I’ve seen it in so many areas of my life and back in 2014, it’s what I saw. It was easier for me to just fail at everything on the list just to take the pressure off instead of coming up with a schedule to help me achieve what I had planned.

Instant gratification hinders success in that it makes you choose immediate pleasures over long term goals. Goals are easy to come up with but when it comes down to putting in the work, people start looking for other things to keep themselves busy. Have you noticed instances of instant gratification in your life? If so, know it is not unbeatable. Noticing its presence is the first step; the next is getting to work and stopping only when you’re done.

Have a productive day ahead 🙂


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