- 6 min read

Learn the Art of Delayed Gratification

img of Learn the Art of Delayed Gratification

In a fast-paced world that constantly tempts us with instant rewards, there lies a profound concept known as delayed gratification.

But what is delayed gratification, and why is delayed gratification important to our personal growth and success? After reading this post, you will understand what lies behind this concept and how to put it into practice.

Understanding Delayed Gratification

The Science Behind Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is not just a matter of willpower; it has a basis in our brain’s mechanisms. Our brains are wired to seek immediate rewards as a survival instinct. However, by understanding the psychological underpinnings of delayed gratification, we can gain insights into how we can train ourselves to embrace patience.

Scientific research supports the notion that delayed gratification leads to better life outcomes and enhanced well-being. Studies show that individuals who exhibit higher levels of self-control and delayed gratification tend to experience greater long-term success and happiness.

Research has shown that the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making and impulse control, plays a crucial role in delayed gratification. By strengthening this brain region through practice, we can improve our ability to resist temptation and focus on long-term goals.

The Marshmallow Experiment

The Marshmallow experiment, conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s, is a classic experiment that studied children’s behavior when offered one marshmallow immediately or the promise of two if they waited. The outcomes of this test revealed intriguing insights into the impact of delayed gratification on various aspects of life.

Follow-up studies on the participants showed that those who demonstrated better-delayed gratification skills had higher SAT scores, better academic performance, and fewer behavioral issues later in life. This groundbreaking research highlights the lasting effects of delayed gratification on our success and well-being.

Real-Life Examples of Delayed Gratification

  • Avoiding eating snacks before lunchtime. This will make you enjoy your lunch much more.
  • Going to the gym in the morning. Surpassing the laziness of waking up earlier to do some exercise, will make you feel more energized during the day and will have positive benefits in your health.
  • Taking a cold shower.
  • Instead of wasting your money on parties and/or drinks, save it for a good vacation at the end of the year.
  • Having a reward after a hard day of work or a study session.
  • Working hard on a task/subject you normally struggle with. You will later feel good about your progress.

How To Be More Patient

Recognize Impulsive Behaviors.

Impulse control is a critical aspect of delayed gratification. Our impulsive decisions can often lead us astray from our long-term goals, causing regrets in the future. By recognizing our impulsive tendencies, we can make conscious choices and avoid succumbing to immediate desires.

Once we recognize our impulse behaviors, we can:

  • Distract ourselves with another activity. Distraction is a great way to avoid temptation because it shifts your thoughts to something else.
  • Tell ourselves we will go for it in 15 mins, then delay it longer. Sometimes, it is just a matter of time for this thought to be away.
  • List the consequences of giving into our temptation. This is a list you can stick on the wall, or add as wallpaper on your phone, visible every time. This will help us to remind ourselves how bad we would feel if we were giving into our temptation.

Setting Long-Term Goals and Creating Actionable Plans.

This might sound difficult, but delayed gratification becomes more manageable with clear long-term goals. Setting ambitious yet attainable objectives helps us stay focused on the bigger picture and provides direction for our efforts.

A way to achieve long-term goals starts with planning our monthly schedule. In this blog, we kindly recommend the app Time Planner: Agenda & To Do. This is a very complete app, even in its free version, that I keep using every day to organize my tasks during the day and week, to end up reaching my long-term objectives.

Building Discipline and Self-Control.

Building discipline and self-control are essential skills in mastering delayed gratification. Strengthening our ability to resist temptations requires practice and dedication.

There are several practical techniques for strengthening our willpower and bolstering our capacity for delayed gratification. These techniques include setting specific rules and boundaries, finding accountability partners, and rewarding ourselves for delayed rewards.

For instance, you can establish a rule to wait a certain amount of time before making non-essential purchases. Alternatively, you can partner with a friend who shares similar goals and hold each other accountable for staying on track. Additionally, rewarding yourself with small treats or experiences for achieving milestones in delayed gratification can provide positive reinforcement and keep you motivated.

Practical Strategies to Delayed Gratification

Creating a Reward System

A well-designed reward system can motivate us to stay committed to delayed gratification, providing positive reinforcement for our efforts.

To create an effective reward system, consider attaching specific rewards to objectives achieved. For example, if you’re saving money for a significant purchase, reward yourself with a small treat when you reach certain savings targets. The key is ensuring the rewards align with your long-term goals and serve as positive incentives.

Practicing Mindfulness and Self-reflection

Mindfulness and self-reflection are essential in becoming more attuned to our impulses and making intentional choices.

Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. Mindful breathing exercises, meditation, and journaling can help you better understand your desires and reactions to various stimuli.

Taking a moment to pause and reflect before making decisions can prevent you from taking impulsive actions and ensure that your choices align with your long-term vision.

Having a Supportive Environment

Our surroundings influence our behaviors and choices. Building a supportive environment can significantly impact our ability to embrace delayed gratification. In our previous blog post, we explain the power of our vibe on attracting our tribe.

Seek the support of friends, family, or mentors who understand your goals and are willing to cheer you on during challenging times. Surrounding yourself with individuals who share your values and support your journey can make a tremendous difference in staying committed to delayed gratification.

Learn From Your Failures

Our failures made us grow, so don’t be ashamed of them. Failures are not setbacks but growth opportunities. In this blog post, we explore how to turn failures into success by analyzing our failures and extracting lessons from them.


In conclusion, the art of delayed gratification offers a powerful approach to building resilience and experiencing long-term fulfillment. By understanding its psychological basis, learning from real-life examples, and adopting practical strategies, you can navigate the challenges of delayed gratification and reap its remarkable rewards.

Through patience and persistence, you’ll discover the joy of the journey, celebrate small wins, and focus on personal growth. Overcoming setbacks and learning from failures will become stepping stones to your success. By embracing delayed gratification, you join the ranks of esteemed figures who attribute their achievements to patience and self-control.

As you embark on this transformative journey, I encourage you to develop a personalized plan, set achievable milestones, and integrate patience into your daily life. Embrace delayed gratification, and open yourself up to a world of long-term fulfillment, success, and happiness. Remember, the road may be challenging, but the destination is worth the wait.