How to delay gratification and build willpower? by Manali Debroy

delay gratification and build willpower
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The constant desire to fulfil our own ambitions and to tick off the list that we prepare mentally each time is a human nature. Human wants and desires never dry up, but it only keeps on adding. But deviating from the path to indulge in activities of instant or short-term gratifications definitely dampens the inner satori. We often indulge in some kind of short-term gratification. Like, watching a series or just wasting hours watching some videos one after the other. We keep our creative idea and productivity at bay while doing the non-meaningful things that are short-lived and shatters one’s long term goals. Short-lived gratifications to escape from the pain of hard work would never lead you anywhere, but to a dead end of no hopes and no way out. Satisfaction and gratification are two different words. The former is derived out of the painful hard work you concretely put in everyday to achieve your ambitions; whereas the latter is just a smoke of your dreams and goals that you burn, out of your laziness.

But the question remains – how do we really train our mind not to indulge into those gratifications? Let’s try to break down into small points and list ‘seven heaven rules’ to stay away from luring gratifications and focus on the end goal.

1. Set your priorities straight and know what you want

The first and foremost thing is to ask yourself what is the most important thing you want to do in life. This is very crucial because this decide your everyday routine. If you are not putting your best to think about this, you may end up doing something everyday that you do not like at all. Hence, be very sure and take time to understand what is it that drives your energy into something good and productive. The ambition you have in your mind speaks your whole personality and the attitude, hence identify that. Success is half done when you know what you want. This will set your priorities straight.

2. Identify the escape routes and stay away

Every one has an escape route from something. We all try to indulge in some gratifications one or the other time, either we accept or not. Identifying those short-lived pleasures is very important. Hence, know your escape routes and list them down on a piece of paper and pin it somewhere you can see all the time. That way you know your obstacles very well and it will help you to try stay away from them as much as you can. It will help you achieve your ambitions in an organic and very healthy way.

3. A secure place

It is very important to be away from the distractions, but more is to be in a place that has positive energy allowing you to focus on your work and not derail you. Hence, find a place that is both comfortable and enigmatic to help you focus on your work. Hard work is only possible in a positive environment. Identifying that place or spot is very important to engage yourself into productivity, ideation and any creative work.

4. Take a meaningful break

A break does no harm to anyone and it is in fact very necessary to keep the mind machine working healthily. But rather than indulging in one of those non-meaningful short-lived gratifications, take a soulful break. Go for a walk or jog or just go to your roof-top and watch stars in the sky. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and watch the rains, or just go and talk to your partner with a warm hug. These will help you to refresh in a real way and not cause your mind to wear and tear. You will come back to work with more positivity and engage in originality.

5. Always reward yourself

Rewarding yourself after you have finished writing a book or completing a deal or sketching a canvas or just filling a pitcher is definitely essential. But more essential is to reward yourself with the small perks while you are focused on your goals. Remember that it is not easy to not deviate from your work and indulge in those short-lived but alluring gratifications. So, when you are able to control your temptations and be focused on your work, reward yourself. But don’t go too much overboard with that. For example, you have been able to focus on your work for the last 3 hours without any distractions, you deserve a small pleasure moment of yours. So, if you are a ‘Game of Thrones’ fan, go watch half of the episode. But getting back to work is important. Do not watch the whole episode, but half and come back to work. This way you are not very frustrated and you are driven as well.

6. Building that will-power

Rewarding is undoubtedly important, but more is how to pull yourself back again to work. There comes your willpower. The demonstration of how much you want your work to be finished and achieve the end result depicts the willpower in you and also speaks a lot about your priorities and the character that you are. Willpower is the strongest weapon that you have, that helps you fight against the temptations and see the bigger picture.

7. Big Picture and Managing the long-term goals

Seeing the big picture requires many things – focus, willpower, sense, abilities and most importantly how well you know yourself. All things taken together, you should focus on the bigger picture. Once, you know what you want to do and also know your distractions, you are able to clearly envision your own future and end goals. So picturize yourself as what you want to become and then see how you can reach there. You may need to talk to people who are already pursuing your dreams. So do whatever it takes to jot down the plan. Three questions-

  1. What do you want to do?
  2. Where do you see yourself?
  3. How can you get there?

These and only these should be in your mindset and plan. Answer these   and chart out the route to reach your final destination. Pin it down somewhere in front of you, and make sure to revisit it regularly or may be weekly, whatever is more helpful. Tweak it as the path or the plan changes, but never deviate from the end goal. Like this, you will exactly know what you are working for and you won’t feel lost everyday. You will be able to then manage all your long-term goals with crystal clear mindset.

The ‘seven heaven rules’ are just to help one build willpower to achieve their end goals and delay the gratifications. But, apart from this, it is very important to be surrounded by like-minded and focused people. Always be in the company of driven and productive people. Make sure your partner understands you and supports your motive. A good company helps you to be healthy and makes you see your vision clearer. Remember ‘One rotten apple can spoil the bunch.’

Do let us know if you too are trying to delay gratification and build willpower. Share your journey with The Post India Team.