How to Practice Delayed Gratification 

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Leadership, Self-Improvement

Delayed gratification is a hot topic in the business world—and for good reason. Psychology Today shares that “studies show that delayed gratification is one of the most effective personal traits of successful people.” So sign us up, right? Well, delaying gratification is easier said than done because, as with any new habit, it takes hard work and dedication to develop this new skill. Let’s talk about how we can practice delayed gratification in our everyday lives! 

What is delayed gratification? 

Before getting into ways to stretch your delayed gratification muscles, let’s find out what it’s all about. Britannica defines the delay of gratification as “the act of resisting an impulse to take an immediately available reward in the hope of obtaining a more-valued reward in the future.” 

Sacrificing now in order to reap a bigger and grander result in the future—but how does this relate to business?  

We all know that entrepreneurship is hard work and involves forgoing the idea of being comfortable at times. Here are a few examples of delayed gratification in business: 

  • Working without significant pay now in order to build your business for the future. 
  • Attending a business event instead of a social event. 
  • Spending nights and weekends working instead of relaxing. 

These might all seem like “sacrifices,” but we want you to shift that mindset into considering it a privilege to be able to chase your dreams! 

What are the benefits of delayed gratification?

A single dandelion stands with the sunset in the background.

Not only is this concept important in business, but delayed gratification is also an essential life skill. Think about saving money for instance. Having the self-control to save our money now in order to invest in things of value in the future is the perfect example of how important this habit is. 

This skill applies to so many aspects of our lives. When you practice delayed gratification, you reinforce will-power, self-control, and good life habits. 

Ways to practice delayed gratification. 

Practice makes progress, right? Delaying gratification is a habit, so it takes time to build the willingness to stick with it. Fortunately, there are simple ways that we can implement this skill into our daily lives. 

Here are four simple ways to practice delayed gratification. 

Practice delayed gratification with your finances. 

We’ve already given an example of why building the habit of saving money is an essential skill. Now let’s practice it! Check out these fun savings challenges that you can try! 

  • Save $1 every day for a year. That’s $365 at the end of the year! What can you buy with that? 
  • Create a fun tracking system or chart so that the whole family can see how much is being saved for a fun family staycation! 
  • Get a jar and put every coin you come across in it for the whole year. Throw a fun family party at the end of the year with the money you save … you’d be surprised how much small amounts adds up! 

These are just a few ideas, but if you’d like to discover a money-saving activity that best fits your personality, check out this Intuit Mint Life blog full of money saving challenges

Practice with your health.

A watch on a person’s writer has an image of a trophy and has the word “Goal!” underneath it.

Like our finances, our health is another very tangible display of instant gratification vs. delayed gratification. Having that nightly bowl of ice cream may bring you joy in the moment; however, it may become a problem for your health over time. 

The same goes with exercise. Sleeping in late in the mornings or lounging in the evenings rather than moving our body sounds great, but eventually, it catches up to us. 

Neither of these need to be an extreme adjustment. Try going for a morning or evening walk every day or reserving that yummy dessert for the weekends! 

Practice with your phone. 

This may seem like a strange one, but our phones have influence over us. There’s certainly a gravitational pull and almost irresistible impulse to pick up our phones. Whether it’s to check emails, messages, or scroll social media, we can all agree that most of it is wasted time. 

A great life hack to practice delayed gratification with your phone is to set time limits for certain apps on your phone. Most smartphones allow you to “turn off” specific apps during certain times of the day. We challenge you to use this feature and refrain from overriding the limitation you’ve set for yourself. 

Practice with your time. 

Two people walk on cobblestone surface.

Our phones are not the only time wasters. Streaming services and video games are among other activities that don’t necessarily add value to our lives—especially if being used excessively. 

The benefits of activities like reading, moving your body, spending time with family, working on your business, or getting good rest in the evenings far outweigh the instant gratification of binge watching shows every evening. 

Time is the most precious and valuable gift we have. Use it wisely! 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Our comfort zone is a safe and cozy place. We get it. Attempting to change habits and learn new skills, even knowing it’s better for us in the end, is no easy task. So, if you’re here hoping to uplevel your life, we’re proud of you. 

You’re making a choice to reach your big goals! If you’re looking for other daily choices that lead to success, check out our blog!