Why Is Instant Gratification Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals?

“Live in the now” and “the time is now” are common pieces of advice. These are wonderful statements, and being present at the moment is a great way to live a happy life.

Getting what we want when we want it, on the other hand, isn’t always beneficial for us. We can become complacent and lazy as a result of instant satisfaction. 

In this post, you’ll learn why instant gratification prevents you from reaching your goals, as well as what you can do to avoid impulsive behavior and short-term pleasure.

Why You Are Tempted Into Instant Gratification

Everything is available to us quickly: knowledge, food, technology, entertainment, and comfort. We don’t have to put in a lot of work to accomplish our ambitions, and in many circumstances, we can buy things and services that will meet all of our needs in an instant.

We’ve been conditioned to desire stuff right now thanks to social media.

What we don’t think about are the lessons and rewards we miss out on when we don’t resist temptation and put off gratification.

When we work harder to acquire fulfillment, we experience personal progress. We also take for granted the importance of setting long-term objectives and enjoying the process of achieving happiness.

Leo Babauta, a minimalist writer, and author tell out that in order to find balance, we don’t have to deny ourselves the nice things in life. It’s simply a matter of self-control and mindfulness—being aware of our choices and setting limits. 
Instant pleasure, he claims, leads to debt, clutter, poor health, diversions, and mindlessness, whereas deferred gratification and consciousness “leads to simplicity, health, and fitness, focus, achievement, mindfulness, and appreciation for all the gifts of life.[1]

It’s easy to lose touch with our core values and the vital things in life in today’s world of luxury and technology[2]. We begin to place a premium on external factors such as goods, material riches, acquisition, and appearance[3].

We disregard the importance of considering the future and the potential ramifications of our actions. In the chase of instant gratification, we don’t consider waste, harm to our health or the environment, or any possible negative consequences of our activities.

We lose interest in the pleasure of achieving long-term objectives and seeing favorable results.

Related: Different Types of Motivation for Achieving Your Goals

Why Is Instant Gratification Bad for You?

Instant gratification can feel good at the moment, but it can often get you into a routine of seeking out short-term fixes for long-term problems. Here are some reasons instant gratification is bad for you and how you can fix it.

1. The Feeling Doesn’t Last

Your unhappiness with fleeting pleasure magnifies yours wants the next time you seek contentment. This can often result in devastating and largely unanticipated consequences, such as addiction. 
This can be seen in a variety of ways.

Overindulging in food, alcohol, or drugs, as well as technology such as the internet, gaming, and gambling, as well as seemingly innocent activities such as shopping or changing one’s body image through diet and fitness, can all become obsessive and have negative consequences. 

Related: How to Enhance Your Visual-Spatial Capabilities

How to Overcome It

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t make use of our opportunities to do so. We simply need to set boundaries and be mindful of how we act and how much or how often we indulge. 

That is the distinction between living and wasting our lives. Of course, living in the moment and taking advantage of the things that make us happy is prudent, but we also need to be healthy and plan for the future. To create a balance, we need foresight and consideration.

2. You Can Lose Motivation and Control

We can lose the desire to attain goals that don’t yield immediate gratification and persistent stimulation when we sense the need for quick gratification and constant stimulation.

As our mind seeks out anything that can provide a reward, we may begin to experience a loss of control.

 Short-term fulfillment will obstruct your long-term objectives. It’s possible that your mind isn’t used to having to wait, and patience will become a major challenge.

Related: Methods for Quickly Achieving Your Objectives

How to Overcome It

The most important thing is to be aware of your urges. Try making a list of every time you get an impulse to do something and instead of acting on it, just write it down.

Snacking, checking your phone, or buying anything unneeded are examples of these cravings. 
Rather than entirely denying your desires, simply postpone them.

Allow some time to pass between when you have a desire and when you act on it. This will teach your brain how to wait, making it easier the following time.

3. Your Awareness Will Diminish

You’re not taking the time to evaluate what’s going on or observe how you’re feeling or what you’re doing if you’re continually giving in to in-the-moment demands through rapid pleasure.

Impatience or boredom will become alien states, and getting out of them will be your first concern.

Related: What Does Self-Awareness Mean? (And How to Increase Yours)

How to Overcome It

The idea is to cultivate consciousness and mindfulness to improve your awareness

of what is going on in your mind and body.

We occasionally give in to impulses without even realizing it, and before we know it, we’ve consumed an entire tub of ice cream or sunk another $1,000 into a slot machine.

That’s fine if that’s exactly what you want to do; just be aware that you’re making a conscious decision and own it. Accept responsibility for your actions.

These talents require practice, and it is critical to give yourself enough time to master lessons. Don’t expect fast pleasure to go overnight if it’s been a part of your life for a long time. With each new experience, you’ll only get better.

Allow yourself to fail and try and do better the next time an opportunity to practice resistance and mindfulness comes along.

4. You Lose the Moment

When you give in to your desires, your mind becomes so focused on the desire that it blocks out everything else.

Delaying gratification can help you become more aware of a certain moment and learn to experience it with peace rather than irritation or desperation.

How to Overcome It

You will have the fortitude and discipline to enjoy the moment without indulging in immediate gratification after practicing this type of mindfulness. When we discover how capable we are of practicing willpower, we feel a great sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Quitting smoking is a good illustration of how these abilities can be immensely rewarding and sometimes lifesaving.

Related: How to Fight Depression: 12 Things to Try

Final Thoughts

It is undervalued to invest in our future. We can learn to plan for our long-term goals and reduce our demand for quick gratification with focus and repetition.

We can strike a balance and still enjoy the good things in life without overindulging or making decisions that will negatively impact our lives.

 Rather than fighting boredom, sit with it. Analyze your desperation rather than attempting to quiet it down right now. This will take time, but it will lead to a decrease in dependency on quick pleasure, which will be well worth it in the end. 


  1. Zen Habits: A Brief Guide to Overcoming Instant Gratification


3. University of Canterbury: Instant Gratification for the Internet Generation: Goal Motivation Affects Self-Control as a Function of Self-Esteem

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