Delayed Gratification: Benefits and How to Improve Your Ability to Delay Gratification

by Alimot Akinsanya

While growing up, there was this thing our mothers did to get us to study hard or participate in house chores. ‘If you come first in your class, I will get you a new bicycle.’ So when we hear things like this, we study hard like there is no tomorrow to get the reward promised.

Although we did not read too much meaning to it, this helped most people grow into delaying gratification. We would rather let our parents see us reading or studying than watch television or play out with friends.

To obtain a better reward in the future, we resist every temptation for immediate rewards.

What is Delayed Gratification?

Delayed gratification is the ability to resist immediate rewards to obtain a better and more fulfilling one in the future. Conversely, it is the ability to put aside your needs or desires for an immediate reward.

When we talk about delayed gratification, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t reward yourself immediately when you win; it is just the ability to resist temptations that could stop you from getting a bigger and better reward in the future.

  • Delayed gratification helps us see the best in every situation we find ourselves. 
  • It teaches us that certain things in life are worth the wait.
  • It helps us say no to temptations.

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Benefits of Delayed Gratification

As humans, we all want to get rewarded immediately for our actions. But the benefits of delaying gratification cannot be overlooked. Here are three benefits of delayed gratification:

  1. It helps us develop discipline or persistence

When we do things without expecting an immediate result, we develop self-control. With delayed gratification, the urge to give up on our dreams or let go of things that keeps us moving will subside. It will help us get a hood of ourselves while facing worthwhile things.

Read also: Tips to Build Self-Discipline as a Nigerian

  1. It helps us set smart goals

We all have goals we want to achieve, and while we all set these goals, not everyone sets smart goals. It is one thing to set goals, and it is a different thing to set goals that you know you can achieve. Delayed gratification helps us set achievable goals.

  1. It helps us lead a fulfilling life

One of the benefits of delayed gratification is that it provides happiness and satisfaction. It helps you remain happy within yourself and satisfied with the rewards you obtain, whether immediate or long-term. 

Examples of Delayed Gratification

Let’s take a look at some examples of Delayed Gratification to help us understand better.

  • Achievement

We all have different things we want to achieve in life. For instance, you want to be an author, win multiple awards for your books and be widely known for what you do.

However, you have to decide between these options because it is impossible to achieve them simultaneously. There are steps you need to take before you start writing a book and before you get known in the world.

Rather than solely focus on being known immediately, you take your time to put in the right efforts to obtain a better reward in the future.

  • Financial well-being

Learning how to delay gratification also happens with money. You must learn how to spend money on necessary and essential things.

For instance, you want to start a business, and of course, you need money to do that. And to do that, you have to learn to save up, which might be hard — but it will help you reach your goal.

This means that you need to resist every temptation to spend your money on unnecessary things. Instead, you need to learn not to spend your money in your immediate moment and learn how to spend and save money. 

Read also: Money Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Rich Goals in 2022

  • Healthy eating habits

As much as you love eating anything you set your eyes on, there are times you need to take a step back and think about the kind of consequences your eating habits will cause you in the future.

For instance, you might be the type who takes lots of sugary drinks. But, if you want to start eating healthy, you need to learn to resist your desire for these drinks.

How to Improve Your Ability to Delay Gratification

If you are used to expecting immediate rewards, there are things you can do to help you delay gratification. Here are a few:

  1. Set realistic deadlines

If you are trying to learn how to delay gratification, you need to learn how to set realistic deadlines for your goals. First, identify what is important to you and their order of priority. Set deadlines that you are confident you can achieve. To do this, you have to understand yourself properly.

Read also: Meeting Deadlines: Killer Ways to Crushing ‘rush-Hour Delivery’ on Projects

  1. Reward yourself for small wins

Sometimes, we don’t consider the little things we have achieved. Our eyes are always on the immediate rewards. But, you need to appreciate yourself for every small win. Even if the reward isn’t as expected, congratulate yourself. Whether big or small, a win is a win.

  1. Eliminate temptation

One of the aspects of delayed gratification is to resist temptations. Most of the immediate rewards we all look out for are a result of being unable to eliminate temptations. You need to identify the things or actions that entice you to obtain an immediate reward. When you identify them, eliminate them from your mind completely.

  1. Think about the future

One reason why we all strive toward our goal is to make our future worthwhile. To delay gratification, you need to always think about the future. Whenever you want an immediate reward for an action, think about the consequences of your actions in the later years.

Final Thoughts

Improving your ability to delay gratification can be hard, but with effort, you will get used to it.

However, you need to know that delayed gratification doesn’t have to get in the way of self-care. There should only be a balance between resisting temptation for instant reward and giving yourself small treats when necessary.

You may share your thoughts on delayed gratification in the comments below or over WhatsApp with

About Author

Avatar of Alimot Akinsanya
Alimot Akinsanya
Alimot Akinsanya is an experienced content writer. She creates high-quality, compelling, engaging, relatable, and research-backed long-form content for individuals and businesses. She believes in the power of words to communicate effectively with audiences.

She is a devoted lover of personal development, mental health, self-awareness, and social inclusion. 

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