How Immediate Gratification Is Ruining Your Life – And Tools To Help

immediate gratificationCan you resist the siren call of immediate gratification – when it comes to food, love, lust, money, Instagram, texting etc? Chances are if you’re having a problem right now in your life, it’s due to your needing to practice better impulse control. Read on…

Note: This essay is one of a two part series! Read the second article on immediate gratification here!

The other evening I told my 4 year old son it was time to brush his teeth.

His reply: “I’m sorry, mom. I’m just not feeling it right now.”

Yes, my son is 4 going on 16!

The truth: It doesn’t matter if you’re 4 or 16 or 116. Often the most important things we all need to do wind up double-dutying as things we do not feel like doing.

Quickie Examples From My Own I-Don’t-Want To Do List…

When I look at this list, I can clearly see how my biggest opportunities for happiness and growth are consistently preceded by a big, whiny:

“But I’m just not feeling it right now!”

The reason we feel resistance?

It’s far more fun to seek immediate gratification – than to delay gratification – even if we know there’s an awesome longer-term benefit awaiting.

Examples of “a longer term benefit”:

How Immediate Gratification Is Ruining Your Life - And Tools To HelpWe all recognize that hard work, patience and willpower are important.

Yet, when given the choice between chocolate versus salad – or sleeping late versus working out – we’re often tempted to choose the thing which feels good in the moment.

The result:

We can go through life choosing what’s easy instead of what’s right – and wind up mightily disappointed.

The truth:

Often the hardest thing and the most right thing are the same exact thing! You should never sacrifice what you want most in life, in swap for what you want now.

A comfort zone might be nice place to hang out in – but nothing truly awesome ever grows there.

I confess I’ve been lured in to take the easy/fast route on many occasions.

I’ve eaten too much, spent too much, exercised too little, blurted out things I regret.

I’ve even gotten deeply involved in relationships far too soon.

Immediate Gratification Is Ruining Your Life


Pretty much all my problems (big and small) have happened because I acted too quickly on my impulses.

Our inability to delay gratification not only wreaks havoc in our personal world, but also in our world at large.

Look around. There’s a high divorce rate – because people are more apt to end relationships rather than work on them. There’s an epidemic of obesity and plentiful stories of credit card debt.

More people than ever are being diagnosed with impulse control disorders.

Plus the number of children and adults with attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and addictions are all on the rise.

impulse control gets you into troubleLet’s get real.

We all know it’s not simply the smartest people who score the highest grades and biggest salaries.

It’s those who are willing to delay gratification – and put in the effort of discipline to study hard and pay their dues at a job – or any skill to be mastered.

Basically, when you’re unable to resist immediate gratification you wreak major havoc.


immediate gratification leads to bad choicesMany businesses also fail due to being hooked on the fleeting feel-good of immediate gratification. They hire super quickly – to fill that empty spot. Then they get stuck with employees they don’t want. But they don’t fire them – because they don’t want to deal with filling another empty spot.

They make safe choices for each quarter. Instead they should be making bolder choices that will benefit the company in the longer-term.

They reach for quick-fixes. Instead they should be putting in the work of finding out the systemic cause to their problems – which is usually some form of seeking immediate gratification.

There’s a plethora of problems we create due to immediate gratification.

These problems are only increasing as our world speeds up each technologically-advancing day.

think longer term not about immediate gratificationFor eons we humans have wanted our desires to be satisfied right away. Well, we now finally live in an eon which can satisfy our urge for urgency.

We’ve become addicted to our gadgets. We love the instant-feel-good of our cellphones. Often over the longer-term benefits of taking the time to meet up with loved ones in person. Or even spending time alone, sitting, reflecting, thinking.

Presently the U.S. is dealing with many problems due to people being hooked on wanting that “immediate gratification high”:

financial problems, environmental problems, ecological problems, health problems, obesity problems, crime problems, etc…

Plus, each year these problems just keep getting worst – because we’re ironically seeking “immediate gratification solutions” to the very problems created by our addiction to immediate gratification!

Immediate Gratification is the need for speed and can create problemsThe time has come to recognize that speed-centric methods just can’t fix the mess we’re in.

We need to slow down and dig down!

We need to take mindful time to make more conscious, long-term-focused choices –  in health, education, business, relationships, financial matters, parenting, etc.

Hear this now:

The ability to delay gratification is the most important life skill we must all learn to embrace –  if we want to ensure living a happy, satisfying and successful life – plus ensure we do not destroy our planet.

Get tools to resist your immediate gratification urges for food

Check out my bestselling video course, Stop Emotional Eating!

immediate gratification for food can be stopped with these toolsThis isn’t a diet program. It’s a permanent habit changing course – to help you lose weight for good.

I’m an award winning designer – so each video is loaded up with stylishly produced graphics. Plus the video training is a convenient 2 to 10 minute “burst” of info. You can watch and  re-watch, because you have lifetime access.

You will learn how to…

  • Stop binge eating when you’re stressed, angry, bored, depressed.
  • Retrain your brain to crave healthier foods – in a lasting way.
  • Create a permanent shift in how you “view” and “do” food.

Learn more here!

Share below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about immediate gratification? Share your personal story or a personal tool below!

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(5) comments


@Karen : Hello!

One of the nice article, and very true! I am amazed how you can actually analyzing this small problem and can actually see what a big issue it is.

Going thorough this article I could also realized.. yeah that happens with me… may be every time.. However, my mind is giving question back – is that so simple and straight?

For example, I want to go for walk in the morning but due to my & my husband’s schedule we have to go early at 6 in the morning. Now, in morning I wake up I am pushing my self that yes I have to be going for a walk… but now my husband is going to sleep again becs he had a very busy day, having little pain, and gain need to go back to work… so Now, I don’t want him to disturb… may be sleep is necessary… but I want him with me for a walk… and he also wants to come but no energy!!!!!

This is just one may be not so good example.. But that happens with so many thing.. you are ready little pushing your self… but there are other factors… responsibilities for others(in-laws, parents… I leave together with my in-laws and my parents just near by in same city), you want your better half to be with you in some cases, people just keep on coming with their expectations.. and nagging issue – that they need help from me.. so feeling bad for self if I opt for not helping them and doing what I believe would be correct for my good….

issue is not with helping others…. but its time… that makes things so complicated… that I am not sure some times what should I opt for.. and I always feel I don’t have enough energy to handle these all well.. so everything keeps okay… for everyone…

and yes I have dreams… but it just get behind with all the daily routine priorities/adjustments… and How log I should keep on dreaming??? years by years just keep on passing and then I am loosing faith and energy too…

And worst part is I some how always surrounded by people who wins in every thing… education, fashion, cooking, English proficiency… I just feel I can’t achieve all that… its just that they are lucky.. they always win a prize no matter how small competition it was… And its not that I never tried… I tried to go in with confidence.. but thing is I don’t get that small prize even!!! and I did tried that for multiple times… and then I stopped when I start feeling its not just a try… its may be more than that.. a luck which they have got…

I would wait for your answer.


    Woo woo!! It seems you know me very well! The whole article was my story reason behind my guilt and fears and resulting in anxiety and stress.I will not say here I will try to delay my urge for feeding my immidiate gratification I must say I have started to remind my self wht I should do now. Thanks soo much …I think I needed that push in my life to get back on routin or you could say get my peace back 🙂

Don Delaney

My Dear WOO, wisdom and light shine though your hard learned insights. You are making an impact and doing good work…warmest wishes…don d.


I agree with you that the need for instant gratification is a big problem. We can do far greater things when we put in the time and effort for the long term. The three best examples in my life are:

1. Deciding to run a marathon. I knew I never would have known what my limits were unless I tested them. Training for that first marathon was a huuuge undertaking. I’m not training for my 6th run and couldn’t be happier.

2. Going Vegan. I had several reasons for going vegan. One of them was my health. I’m happier, have more energy, and have decreased my stress level. But a lot of changing your diet you don’t see for years or even decades. I just have to trust that I’m doing the right thing for me.

3. Going back to school. I decided to change careers to become a veterinary technician. So one day I decided to figuratively say goodbye to friends and family for three years. It’s an EXTREMELY intensive AS degree. It’ll take at least two years of my life, then studying for and passing board examinations, which will probably be another year or so of study. It’ll be worth it when I can call myself an RVT. 🙂

All that said, there is a place for instant gratification. The workplace can be a cruel place where you get no recognition for hard work. For example, I once was a telephone technical support representative. Occasionally I would have an irate customer who I ended up staying on the phone with for hours until her problem was fixed. Once in a while, somebody would write a glowing letter to my boss, which I immediately put on my cubicle wall. THose letters reminded me of why I put up with all the abuse I did and kept keep me going for weeks. That was 20 years ago. I just ran across one of those letters.

Amy Costello

You are awesome. I really needed to read this today. I struggle with instant gratification bigtime. I have BPD so that makes it worse. When I can afford it I would love to do you’re programs. Im fighting a battle of the mind everyday. The world needs more people like you Karen!!

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