“Given the choice between instant gratification and the lasting satisfaction of earning the esteem of someone you respect and admire, all but the most small-minded would choose the latter.” – Mark Goulston

Instant gratification is a habit in which you avoid short-term discomfort in favour of transitory pleasures that may eventually lead to long-term pain. In other words, while knowing that doing something will help you achieve your long-term goals and objectives, you find justifications (excuses) not to do it because of the pain it will cause now.

Procrastination is a common side effect of instant satisfaction. It’s a type of self-sabotage where you allow yourself to give in to life’s temptations at the expense of your long-term objectives. When this happens, the joys of the present just seem more alluring than the brief suffering you would endure while pursuing your objectives. And this is the reason why we rarely achieve our goals through instant gratification in the long run.

Instant gratification often traps victims in anticipating getting something for free. Unfortunately, that’s not usually how the world operates. To receive anything, you must usually first give something (investing yourself in some way).

It doesn’t matter if that requires your time, effort, or money. Giving itself is what matters. And frequently, this “giving” may feel awkward, laborious and even painful. However, when you finally succeed in your goal, the short-term suffering you experienced during these fleeting moments will eventually give way to long-term joy. Your brain will be producing and receiving feel good reward chemicals along the way too.

If you fall into the trap of rapid pleasure, you may become particularly prone to addiction, jealousy, rage, and impulsive behaviour. Additionally, it frequently causes more worry, anxiety, and overwhelm.

Instant satisfaction can be an indicator that you lack self-control. Additionally, it emphasises how powerless you may be in the face of your emotional compulsions. As a result, you may experience serious consequences in your life, like limited thinking, bad decision-making, and poor planning habits.

Long-term discontent can result from constant and persistent indulging in momentary gratification. You continually sacrifice important long-term advantages for minor short-term pleasures that come in the shape of temptations, which can result in you feeling sad and unfulfilled.

What Draws Us Towards Instant Gratification?

Human nature is at the basis of our need for instant pleasure, which is exacerbated by contemporary technology and driven by uncertainty. It may be simpler to resist the urge for rapid gratification if you are aware of the following things:

Human Instinct for Immediate Gratification

Instant gratification is alluring for a variety of reasons, including human nature. According to the “Pleasure Principle,” the human brain is designed to choose pleasure and avoid suffering. This basic survival strategy has been imprinted in us since childhood.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced in our brains when our needs and wants are met. It gives us a feeling of joy and reward. We feel stress or worry when we don’t get what we want. Self-denial is unpleasant, and our inclination is to take advantage of every pleasure that comes our way.

Presence of Modern Technology

Everything now needs to be rapid and instant thanks to technological advancements, including social media, instant texting, and even the food we eat. As quick pleasure becomes more accessible, we are having a harder time controlling our urges.

A further consequence of social media’s pervasiveness in our lives is the development of the quick gratification habit. On social media networks, likes, comments, and shares give us immediate gratification. Social media’s ability to deliver fast gratification satisfies our craving for pleasure and reward.


Uncertainty is another factor that tempts us to seek fast fulfilment. In uncertain times, like the COVID-19 epidemic or during times of conflict, people frequently think in the short term. Because we are unsure of when or whether we will receive a reward in the future, we often focus on the immediate benefit and pleasure.

We tend to choose activities that will make us feel better right away due to the stress that comes with uncertainty, such as eating comfort food, binge-watching television, or engaging in other activities that provide immediate pleasure.

How To Overcome Instant Gratification

If you want to break free from the habit of instant gratification, you must follow these tips to help you develop habits that will allow you to prioritise long-term goals over short-term ones.

1. Discover Your Goals

Getting a notion of where you’re headed should be your first step. It’s simple to get sidetracked by the temptations that life presents if you don’t know where you’re heading or what you’regoing to be working towards.

Making a plan to achieve your objectives and vision will help you maintain discipline and focus as you travel. In order to identify your vision, ask yourself questions like “What do I want to achieve?” “Why do I need this?”

It’s important that you also list your immediate priorities and ambitions. This is crucial because when you are undecided or unsure of your direction, quick pleasure frequently finds its way into your life.

Indulging in temptations will seem more alluring and enjoyable during these moments. On the other hand, you won’t want to go through the discomfort of attempting to understand things. This is especially true if you run into unanticipated issues.

2. Identify the Obstacles

You will run into a lot of issues as you work to realise your long-term vision for the future. Of course, some of these issues will astound you in unexpected ways. And if you’re not prepared to deal with them, you can give in to transient pleasures that only provide you with brief intervals of comfort. In essence, these joys will take your mind off your issues.

By their very nature, difficulties can be rather unpredictable, so you never know when they might occur. And yet, as long as you resist temptations that are likely to divert your attention, issues are something you can resolve efficiently.

It’s crucial that you recognise the temptations you can encounter on your path precisely because of this. To do so, ask yourself questions like “What temptations can I encounter in this journey and how can they affect me?”

Don’t make the error of trying to solve your difficulties at this point. Your issues don’t matter. As long as you don’t let life’s temptations catch you off guard, you will unquestionably succeed in overcoming them.

Of course, I’m referring to the temptations that will help you ignore your difficulties. They are the temptations that will provide you instant gratification and momentarily numb the agony of the issue you are dealing with.

After all, you should worry less about the issue itself and more about the things that could prevent you from resolving it.

3. Approach Your Support Network

Trust who and what you are, and the universe will support you in a miraculous way.” – Alan Cohen.

Building a solid support system is really useful if you want to stay out of the instant satisfaction trap. These people will offer you assistance as you go through the challenging parts of yourjourney.

Without a solid network of allies, it is doubtful that you will experience the success you desire. These are the folks who can assist you in solving your issues more quickly. You may rely on them to keep you on task. Furthermore, they will watch out for you to prevent you from being diverted or distracted by the fleeting joys that life will definitely present to you.

It’s crucial that you make clear the types of resources you could require for your journey. Tools, skills, information, and a wide range of other items that you’ll need to realise your intended long-term aims could all be considered resources.

It’s likely that you’ll even need tools to assist you resist temptations and fleeting pleasures that could snare you at an unexpected time when things are tough. Think carefully about what you might need along the way so that you can always keep your attention on what’s most crucial.

4. Create Clear Boundaries

Setting boundaries or rules for what you will do and what you will at all costs refrain from doing is essential at this point.

Without established limits, it’s simple to give in to temptations. However, you will feel more in control of the events and circumstances of your life if there are clear guidelines in place about what you are and are not allowed to do. Outline the kind of behaviours you will no longer engage in. Consider the long-term benefits and rewards you will experience by resisting these temptations as well.

5. Make a Reward System For Yourself

Make a system of rewards that will help you stay motivated over the long run.

Instead of rewarding yourself for what you are doing, praise yourself for resisting distractions that can divert your attention.

For example, reward yourself with a momentary pleasure that will please your senses if you manage to stay focused on your top priorities for an entire week without succumbing to the instant gratification habit. But after receiving your reward, move on and resume your course.

This approach will assist you in maintaining control. Yes, you are allowing yourself to occasionally indulge in fleeting pleasures and temptations. These, though, are rewards for your efforts rather than distractions.

Because you have power over this behaviour, you also have control over your life. Your short-term pleasures start getting in the way of your long-term goals when your behaviour starts to rule you and you end up giving in to rapid gratification.

6. Recognise Your Urges

Sometimes, partially because we’re not aware that we’re doing it, we can become caught up in a loop of seeking rapid pleasure. It’s simple to have an impulse and satisfy it right away, especially in today’s world. You might find it useful to learn how to spot urges in order to learnhow to control this propensity. One approach to achieve this is to create a mindfulness practise, as many of them focus on increasing nonjudgmental awareness of your thoughts as they occur.

You may start to take control of how you react to your desires by learning to pause and acknowledge the need to check your phone, have a snack, or start a programme right away. By learning to recognise these urges, you can learn to become more aware of what they are and where they originate from. According to one study, this strategy works well for people with drug use problems. According to studies, “Acting with awareness and observation were associated with higher levels of delaying gratification, which in turn was associated with lower quantities of use, which in turn was associated with fewer consequences.”

7. Implement Small Delays

Even waiting to indulge in your want for some sort of fulfilment can be a strong move. For instance, you might purposefully delay checking your phone until after a few hours have passed after receiving a package in the mail. You can gain more control over these kinds of behaviours by making even tiny efforts to resist the impulse to get rewards right away.

8. Note the Consequences

Again, engaging in rapid gratification isn’t always negative, but it occasionally has unfavourable effects—especially when it occurs regularly over an extended period of time. You may just observe how you feel after the next time you indulge in an activity that gives you immediate gratification, feel sick if you ate something that you are aware doesn’t agree with you or can feel guilty or worried about your finances if you made an internet purchase that you know you cannot pay. You may better analyse your options when determining whether to give in to quick satisfaction or put it off the next time by keeping these results in mind—and perhaps even writing them down. Even if you still choose to occasionally, you will be doing it with greater awareness and knowledge.

Final Word

Although receiving immediate fulfilment feels wonderful in the moment, controlling the impulse has much bigger benefits. Your health will also get better, and you’ll grow more personally as a result. We are confident that you’ll find a lot of fresh ways to succeed after you choose to put many of the aforementioned advice into practise in your life.


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