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5 Ways to Overcome Instant Gratification

by | Jul 15, 2019 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

Author: Rachelle Beltnick

The term ‘instant gratification’ describes our desire to experience pleasure (gratification) right here, right now, without delay. Essentially, you want something and you want it now

Have you ever given into that temptation of a fast food instead of the healthy option you had planned? When was the last time you plopped on the couch instead of hopped on the treadmill? Sure, those choices might feel nice in the moment, but don’t forget the reason you prepared the healthy meal or made plans to go to the gym in the first place! 

It can be difficult to control the urge for instant gratification, but try these five ways to overcome (or delay) it when you feel yourself acting on your impulse to seek short-term pleasure. 

  1. Revisit your original motivation and remember your “why”. When your willpower is slipping, it can be helpful to remember why you started. What motivates you to be successful? Share your goals with loved ones! Connect with others who are on a similar journey! When you consider the bigger picture, it can help you move past these small obstacles.   
  1. Take a break! When you start to question your efforts and harbor negative feelings about your progress, take a break! Instead of indulging, give yourself some time to practice self-care and reflect on your journey so far. When you are feeling refreshed and ready to continue, you will find it easier to move toward your ultimate goal in a more positive way.
  1. Create a plan. Temptations are everywhere! When you think about your next potluck or that upcoming long weekend away with friends, do you feel your waistband tightening? Even routine tasks, like going to the grocery store or walking past the cupboard that holds all the kids’ snacks, can be a real challenge when you are trying to lose weight! 

Since your birthday (cake) happens every year and those snack aisles at the store aren’t going away, consider creating a plan for these situations. It doesn’t have to be complicated or even perfect! Just be realistic with how you will handle your triggers. Set healthy boundaries and specific goals for yourself that will leave you feeling satisfied, but also successful every day of the year (even the ones with cake)! 

  1. Use your imagination & try new things! When we seek out instant gratification, it is often because we are avoiding a deeper emotion. Are you stressed? Bored? Just going through the motions? It can be difficult to have patience and trust the process when your long-term goals take a looooong time to accomplish.  

While delayed gratification can be significantly more satisfying than short term pleasures, it is common to want to feel good right now! Try thinking outside of the box and finding a new way to create joy in your life today. Whether you pick up a new hobby or revisit a favorite pastime, there are countless options if you are looking for some insta-happy while you work towards your lifelong health goals.   

  1. Continue building good habits! When we try to take on too many changes or put too many demands on our energy all at once, we start to feel tired, deprived and overwhelmed. If you want to be successful, it’s important to give yourself time to adjust to these changes gradually. 

Remember, Noom isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle change! And part of creating lifelong change is creating healthy habits that are sustainable. It may not always be easy, but the more you practice your new, healthy habits, the easier it will be to keep them when you are feeling stressed or tempted by instant gratification.