Instant gratification is self sabotage

Guilty. As. Charged.

So as some of you may know, I have been going through it lately. Yet, whenever I am weathering a storm, I find it difficult not to think that I am being challenged to look deeper by some ultimate force in the Universe. So here I am am. Slowing down. Calling myself out on my bullshit and opening up my mind to the thoughts and feelings that I have been trying to cloud with work, children and cute little Snapchat post to keep me busy. With a little introspection, I have found that a large part of my delays in success have come from self sabotage in the form of instant gratification.

Instant gratification is defined in my book as, “I want it and I WANT IT NOW” behavior. Satisfactions that are only achieved by participating in more impulsive behaviors and fleeting pleasures in order to avoid temporary pain. I kept sweeping away the thought that I was in pain but it was truth.

Long term goals just seemed too far away to even comprehend the thought of ever reaching them. I mean, big things like the thought of having to wait for something like a job in my career field to fall into my lap triggered so much anxiety, I found myself working jobs I never imagined I would for a little penny and zero happiness. That snowballed into less time with the kids, less time for myself and coming home complaining myself to sleep five nights a week to my husband about how unhappy I was; which ultimately meant- less time with him too. I mean this is one of the many times that instant gratification has put me into the trap of long-term dissatisfaction and or procrastination. I have found myself in money troubles because I act on impulse buying things I do not need to make myself feel better. I have made decisions regarding my health and well-being – totally feeling unhappy and empty because I keep getting blinded by short-term fulfillment and completely disregarding the long-term benefits of delayed gratification; also known as patience.

Because I have chosen to break free from the habit of letting instant gratification be the driving force behind my actions, there are things that I remind myself of each and every day to take action.

  • First and foremost, I write in my gratitude journal – (Why I utilize, and will continue the use of my gratitude journal) and have constant visual reminders of my goals and priorities. I have recently created a a vision board and I am constantly adding new people, places and things that I see for my life in the longterm.
  • I think about the consequences of my actions – Nothing hurts more than knowing that my lack of self control no longer just affects me, but it has the potential to affect my three children as well. I think a lot more in the long-term before making decisions (especially large, life-altering ones).
  • Self Control – I have been trying little tricks here and there to maintain a healthy level of self control that does not make me feel like I need to be in control of everything. I realized that setting more simple, short-term goals and achieving them has helped me to not only maintain my self control in larger decision making but it has also helped my mood in feeling as if I can actually see things through to an end!
  • Lastly, holding myself accountable – acknowledging I have messed up and accepting responsibility for my actions has allowed me to see things for what they are; there is no one to blame for my actions but me! Once I clear myself of this weight, I am able to redirect myself and get back on track.

I hope that these tips can help someone out there. Instant gratification can feel amazing but remember that it is almost always a temporary high. One that will swing reality back at you faster than you reaped the reward.

-Ash