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How to delay gratification ?

Delaying gratification is a very simple concept. It means making a choice which limits the ability of getting something now for the pleasure of being able to have something bigger or better later. There’s an interesting experiment conducted at Stanford University on delayed gratification, which is known as ‘Marsh mellow Test’.

The author of the research, Professor Walter Mischel of Stanford University studied a group of four to six-year-old children who were given a marshmallow and left in a room for fifteen minutes. They were given the choice of being able to eat the marshmallow now, or if they were to wait the fifteen minutes, they would be able to have two marshmallows. In the end, some children were able to wait the fifteen minutes, whilst others couldn’t.

The study didn’t end there, however. Researchers continued to study the development of the children into adolescents. They found that those children that had been able to delay gratification were psychologically better adjusted, more dependable persons, more self-motivated, and as high school students, achieved significantly better grades than their counterparts. With the latest study conducted on these exact same participants in 2011, the research has shown that the trait has remained with the individuals for life.

  • Know your values

    When you know what is truly important to you, you can make choices that lead you to happiness and success.

  • Know what you want to achieve

    You must have clearly defined goals. What is it that you want to achieve exactly? Having a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve in the longer-term can help you make a choice in delaying gratification to help you reach your ultimate goal.

  • Create a plan

    When you understand your values and know what you want to achieve, creating a plan to help you get there can remind you of the choices you need to make along the way and compel yourself to delay gratification.

  • Prioritize

    Being able to prioritize what is important to you and what you want to achieve helps you make the choice to delay gratification.

  • Reward yourself

    Delaying gratification isn’t a walk in the park. Depending on what you want to achieve, it may take weeks, months, years, and sometimes even decades. Breaking down your goals and rewarding yourself along the way can remind yourself that delaying gratification is leading you to where you want to go.

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