MICRO-HABITS, ROUTINES, & DELAYED GRATIFICATION, OH MY! PART 4.

“Thank You Berry Much” by my dear friend, Mary Beth Breshears.

My most challenging intention behind all of these new goals is to delay gratification, prioritizing what is more painful before what is more pleasurable.

That may come across as extreme and may be off-putting, but if you want to strengthen your self-discipline, delaying gratification will surely give you a great head start. When you delay gratification, you’re essentially facing the unexciting and dreadful tasks first and then reward yourself afterward with a more desirable activity. An example of delaying gratification is finishing your homework first, then watching that episode of Gilmore Girls. Another example is to put off scrolling through social media and replying to texts (unrelated to work) until your task at hand is completed first. When I began exercising delayed gratification, I quickly noticed how I was delaying pain in my life. It was in the way I skipped around songs only for the hook to see if it was worth a full spin; it was the way I rushed through a yellow light (which I still do), watching “Schitt’s Creek” instead of working out, checking social media at work instead of focusing on my client reports, and avoiding confrontation. Take note, but do not judge yourself, for once you begin this road less traveled, you may quickly realize in multiple areas where you delay the pain for instant gratification.

Putting delayed gratification to work:

My bank account needed some major TLC if I wanted it to be where I felt financially secure. I’ve been so guilty of spending my money on goods, not necessities, just because I knew I had the money. My mindset was way off, and I didn’t have financial goals for most of 2020. January 1, 2021, I set up a 31-day “no spending challenge.” I only spent on groceries & bills (eating out was also excluded, it wasn’t necessary, it’s more of a treat). No, I am not completely financially secure after 31 days, but I’ve exercised my self-discipline not frivolously to spend, and it makes me much closer to financial security. I am no financial expert, and if delayed gratification doesn’t entice you, check out “Optimal Finance Daily Podcast” for some personal finance tips. The best part is each episode is under 11 minutes.

How to combine delayed gratification and micro-habits:

The easiest way to simultaneously delay gratification and build on your micro-habit(s) is to make yourself delay the easy and more pleasurable task until you’ve completed your micro-habit. For example, if your new micro-habit is to read daily, work out for 30 minutes, or incorporate meditation somewhere in your day, do that task before your more desirable activity such as making coffee, scrolling Instagram, or catching up on your tv shows. It’s a great way to work on your goals and reward yourself. I feel most productive and proud of myself after waking up, making my bed, and completing FUN workouts/stretches before indulging in my morning coffee or some other more pleasurable task. Micro-habits require consistency, and that is how they become a part of daily routines. It’s okay to focus on one microhabitat for X amount of time, before adding new ones, to allow more room to perfect. As I said in part 3, make your micro-habit enjoyable and not so transactional. Suppose you’re interested in delaying gratification and want some inspiration to get you started; head over to Positive Psychology to improve your own self-regulation through delayed gratification.

Delayed gratification calls for you to face your problems rather than avoid them and hope they’ll work themselves on their own.

I recently read “The Road Less Traveled,” and I made a realization that I tend to avoid confrontation in my personal relationships more than I’d like to admit.

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit… This inclination to ignore problems is once again a simple manifestation of an unwillingness to delay gratification. Confronting problems is, as I have said, painful. To willingly confront a problem early, before we are forced to confront it by circumstances, means to put aside something pleasant or less painful for something more painful. It is choosing to suffer now in the hope of future gratification rather than choosing to continue present gratification in the hope that future suffering will not be necessary.
The Road Less Traveled- M. Scott Peck, M.D.

I don’t think I’m alone here when I say that confrontation SUCKS! I am guilty of avoiding it more often in my friendships than being direct and communicating my boundaries to them. As challenging as it seems, sometimes you have to mention you need to take a step back from the friendship/relationship. During this time, you can determine whether they’re enriching your emotional wellness or adding turmoil. It’s your call to decide who your mirrors are and who you want in your environment.

It’s solely up to you to take the road less traveled and implement delayed gratification in your life where you see fit.

You can read all the self-help texts out there on how to manage/accomplish/overcome XYZ, but it’s up to you and you alone to personalize what you want your life to look and feel like and what it’ll take to get you there. I will continue to repeat myself, start small, do what’s easy, and do not bully yourself along the way. I am no master at delayed gratification; I am two months into this intentional practice, I’m still a work in progress. Delaying gratification is not easy, but it is an opportunity to take your time and assess if the instant gratification is truly worth it.

As always,

do your best,

prioritize your emotional wellness,

be kind,

be well,

Jules xo

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