How Immediate Gratification Is Ruining Your Life – And Tools To Help

immediate gratificationCan you resist the siren call of immediate gratification – when it comes to food, love, lust, money, Facebook, texting etc? Chances are if you’re having a problem right now in your life, it’s due to your needing to practice better impulse control. Read on…

The other evening I told my 4 year old son it was time to brush his teeth.

His reply: “I’m sorry, mom. I’m just not feeling it right now.”

Yes, my son is 4 going on 16!

The truth: It doesn’t matter if you’re 4 or 16 or 116.Often the most important things we all need to do wind up double-dutying as things we do not feel like doing.

Quickie Examples From My Own I-Don’t-Want To Do List…

Clean up


Eat less chocolate

Do work

Shop within a budget

Work on taxes

Share a “loving, courageous dialogue” with my partner

 When I look at this list, I can clearly see how my biggest opportunities for happiness and growth are consistently preceded by a big, whiny: “But I’m just not feeling it right now!”

The reason we feel resistance? It’s far more fun to seek immediate gratification – than to delay gratification – even if we know there’s an awesome longer-term benefit awaiting.

Examples of “a longer term benefit”:

 Brush teeth = no holes in your teeth

Clean up = live in a comfy home and know where the heck things are

Exercise = be healthy & energized

Don’t eat too much chocolate = no sugar high followed by fatigue plunge & weight gain

Do work = pride & success & ability to pay for comfy home, food and coffee

Shop within a budget = ability to keep on paying for comfy home, food and coffee

Work on taxes = certainty that I will stay living in my comfy home

Share a “loving, courageous dialogue” with my partner =  more loving, longer-lasting relationship

immediate gratificationWe all recognize that hard work, patience and willpower are important. Yet, when given the choice between chocolate versus salad – or sleeping late versus working out – we’re often tempted to choose the thing which feels good in the moment.

The result:

We can go through life choosing what’s easy instead of what’s right – and wind up mightily disappointed.

The truth:

Often the hardest thing and the most right thing are the same exact thing! You should never sacrifice what you want most in life, in swap for what you want now. A comfort zone might be nice place to hang out in – but nothing truly awesome ever grows there.

 I confess I’ve been lured in to take the easy/fast route on many occasions. I’ve eaten too much, spent too much, exercised too little, blurted out things I regret. I’ve even gotten deeply involved in relationships far too soon.

Yep. Pretty much all my problems (big and small) have happened because I acted too quickly on my impulses.

Our inability to delay gratification not only wreaks havoc in our personal world, but also in our world at large.  Look around. There’s a high divorce rate – because people are more apt to end relationships rather than work on them. There’s an epidemic of obesity and plentiful stories of credit card debt.   More people than ever are being diagnosed with impulse control disorders.  Plus the number of children and adults with attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and addictions are all on the rise.

Let’s get real. We all know it’s not simply the smartest people who score the highest grades and biggest salaries.  It’s those who are willing to delay gratification – and put in the effort of discipline to study hard and pay their dues at a job – or any skill to be mastered.

Basically, when you’re unable to resist immediate gratification you wreak major havoc.


addictions (to food, drugs, alcohol, porn, shopping)

high divorce rate

saying mean things in the moment

health issues







anger management issues

cellphone over-use

Facebook over-use

compulsive behaviors of all kinds


financial ruin

our nation’s debt

cheating in business

cheating in love





cigarette smoking


mindless eating

mindless everything

serial dating

sexual diseases

any & all sensation-seeking behavior

low self esteem

immediate gratificationMany businesses also fail due to being hooked on the fleeting feel-good of immediate gratification. They hire super quickly – to fill that empty spot – then get stuck with employees they don’t want – but don’t fire them – because they don’t want to deal with filling another empty spot. They make safe choices for each quarter – instead of bolder choices that will benefit the company in the longer-term. They reach for quick-fixes, instead of putting in the work of finding out the systemic cause to their problems – which is usually some form of seeking immediate gratification.

There’s a plethora of problems we create due to immediate gratification – and they’re only increasing as our world speeds up each technologically-advancing day.

For eons we humans have wanted our desires to be satisfied right away. Well, we now finally live in an eon which can satisfy our urge for urgency.

We’ve become addicted to our gadgets. We love the instant-feel-good of our cellphones  – often over the longer-term benefits of taking the time to meet up with loved ones in person – or even spending time alone, sitting, reflecting, thinking.

Presently the U.S. is dealing with many problems due to people being hooked on wanting that “immediate gratification high”: financial problems, environmental problems, immediate gratificationecological problems, health problems, obesity problems, crime problems, etc…

Plus, each year these problems just keep getting worst – because we’re ironically seeking “immediate gratification solutions” to the very problems created by our addiction to immediate gratification!

The time has come to fully recognize that speed-centric methods just can’t fix the mess we’re in.

We need to slow down and dig down! We need to take mindful time to make more conscious, long-term-focused choices –  in health, education, business, relationships, financial matters, parenting, etc.

Hear this now:

The ability to delay gratification is the most important life skill we must all learn to embrace –  if we want to ensure living a happy, satisfying and successful life – plus ensure we do not destroy our planet.

If you want tools to resist your immediate gratification urges for food, click here now -and find out about my life-changing Do It Program. You’ll get NLP tools and Cognitive Dissonance Strategies – that will help you put a final end to food addictions. Already these research-proven tools have helped thousands of people to end their struggles with food addictions! Click now!

TWEET THIS NOW: How Immediate Gratification Has Created Pretty Much Every Problem You’ve Ever Had – And The World Now Has Too @notsalmon

What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about immediate gratification? Share your personal story or a personal tool below!


Written by Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
  • Dreamer

    @Karen : Hello!

    One of the nice article, and very true! I am amazed how you can actually analyzing this small problem and can actually see what a big issue it is.

    Going thorough this article I could also realized.. yeah that happens with me… may be every time.. However, my mind is giving question back – is that so simple and straight?

    For example, I want to go for walk in the morning but due to my & my husband’s schedule we have to go early at 6 in the morning. Now, in morning I wake up I am pushing my self that yes I have to be going for a walk… but now my husband is going to sleep again becs he had a very busy day, having little pain, and gain need to go back to work… so Now, I don’t want him to disturb… may be sleep is necessary… but I want him with me for a walk… and he also wants to come but no energy!!!!!

    This is just one may be not so good example.. But that happens with so many thing.. you are ready little pushing your self… but there are other factors… responsibilities for others(in-laws, parents… I leave together with my in-laws and my parents just near by in same city), you want your better half to be with you in some cases, people just keep on coming with their expectations.. and nagging issue – that they need help from me.. so feeling bad for self if I opt for not helping them and doing what I believe would be correct for my good….

    issue is not with helping others…. but its time… that makes things so complicated… that I am not sure some times what should I opt for.. and I always feel I don’t have enough energy to handle these all well.. so everything keeps okay… for everyone…

    and yes I have dreams… but it just get behind with all the daily routine priorities/adjustments… and How log I should keep on dreaming??? years by years just keep on passing and then I am loosing faith and energy too…

    And worst part is I some how always surrounded by people who wins in every thing… education, fashion, cooking, English proficiency… I just feel I can’t achieve all that… its just that they are lucky.. they always win a prize no matter how small competition it was… And its not that I never tried… I tried to go in with confidence.. but thing is I don’t get that small prize even!!! and I did tried that for multiple times… and then I stopped when I start feeling its not just a try… its may be more than that.. a luck which they have got…

    I would wait for your answer.

  • Don Delaney

    My Dear WOO, wisdom and light shine though your hard learned insights. You are making an impact and doing good work…warmest wishes…don d.

  • Amy Costello

    You are awesome. I really needed to read this today. I struggle with instant gratification bigtime. I have BPD so that makes it worse. When I can afford it I would love to do you’re programs. Im fighting a battle of the mind everyday. The world needs more people like you Karen!!