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Delayed gratification: The ultimate strategic planning for success

Do you want to achieve your long-term goals? Then, you need to master delayed gratification. Here's how.

delayed gratification

Do you struggle with instant gratification and have trouble achieving long-term goals? Then delayed gratification is the key. Science says this one skill vastly improves your odds of success. Learn how self-discipline and impulse control can transform all areas of your life, especially finances. 

Read this article to learn the psychology behind it, financial strategies, and actionable tips to manifest your biggest goals. Let’s get started!

What is delayed gratification?

A lot of people use the terms self-control, delayed gratification, and success mindset interchangeably. A typical explanation of delayed gratification is having the ability to control one’s desire for immediate satisfaction to get a more favourable reward at another point in time.

It’s an effective tool for personal development and building a purposeful lifestyle. This relates to impulse control; people who are good at controlling their impulses also tend to be good at delaying instant satisfaction. However, learning to wait for something you want is a skill in and of itself, and we are going to explore it today.

Also read: What is a systematic deposit plan?

The marshmallow experiment

The marshmallow test is a well-known psychology test that involves how well one can wait to get what one wants. In this test, a marshmallow was placed on a table set in front of each kid from a group of children in a separate room to start the experiment.

The examiner informed the kids that he was leaving the room and was going to reward them with another marshmallow if they didn’t eat it. If they ate the first marshmallow until the examiner returned, they would not receive the second.

This meant there was only one option: have one treat now or two rewards later.

While some kids ran to eat the first marshmallow once the examiner closed the door, others tried to resist the urge, but after a few minutes, they gave in. However, a few kids waited the whole time.

The marshmallow test is a classic example of building resilience, patience, and success. Everyone, regardless of age, has trouble with delaying satisfaction, according to what the “marshmallow experiment” showed. 

Delayed gratification psychology: Why is it important?

Learning to control your impulses is just one more way that delayed gratification may benefit you. Mastering the art of delayed satisfaction is one of the most effective self-discipline techniques. Having this skill might be beneficial in several aspects of your life. 

Another benefit of practising self-control is that you can focus better while working towards achieving long-term goals. You can put more time and effort into reaching your long-term objectives when short-term gratifications do not continuously tempt you. 

You may feel more purposeful and satisfied by putting effort into long-term goals. Along with making better decisions now, you’ll be able to position yourself for a successful future.

Also read: The role of compound interest to reach your financial goals/ 

What does it mean to achieve long-term goals in finance?

At the heart of delayed gratification is learning how to manage your finances properly. With this method, people may choose how much they spend, save, and invest so that their long-term goals are fulfilled. 

A person may save more money, make better investments, and pay off their debt faster if they can control their spending habits and avoid making impulse purchases. Developing this practice is the first step towards becoming financially independent.

One cannot separate the power of compound interest from the potential of delayed gratification. People may take advantage of the ever-growing potential of their financial resources over time by saving and investing early. 

With compound interest, investments may earn profits that are reinvested and multiplied even more. The power of compound interest increases as time goes on, and you practice resilience and perseverance through delayed gratification.

How can you get better at delayed gratification?

Delayed gratification is more of a skill to master than being born with it. When it comes to money management, here are a couple of tips on improving your ability to delay gratification:

Set SMART goals

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The best way to keep yourself motivated and on track towards financial independence is to create clear and appropriate goals.  

Take this example: “I want to save ₹10,00,000 for a down payment on a house in two years.” Rather than just expressing “I want to save money,” you may be more specific. By setting a clear and attainable goal, you can convince yourself to wait for a reward.

Have a clear vision of your future self

People who have trouble with delayed satisfaction often don’t have a close connection with their future selves. Their attention is usually focused on what is currently happening rather than the future. 

Thinking about who you will be in the future and how your present choices will benefit you could help you overcome this obstacle.

Find ways to motivate yourself as you go

You don’t have to give up all of your pleasures if you delay satisfaction. If you save ₹5,000, for example, you may reward yourself with a good dinner or a movie night as a milestone. This way, you can stay encouraged, and it helps you keep up the good habits.

Also read: Put an end to impulse purchases: Here are some practical tips for you!

Strategies to maintain delayed gratification

  • Budget wisely: Make a budget that matches your goals. Save and invest more, and spend less. A budget helps you choose wisely.
  • Spend mindfully: Think before you buy. Ask yourself if it fits your values and goals. Know your needs and wants. Don’t trade your future for instant pleasure.
  • Automate wealth: Use automatic transfers to save and invest. Make saving a habit and avoid spending temptations. Grow your wealth with part of your income.
  • Be patient and persistent: Delayed gratification takes patience and persistence for achievement. Financial freedom is a journey, not a destination. Expect challenges and learn from them. Be resilient and focused.


To succeed in the long run, you need to learn how to delay gratification. This means controlling your impulses and choosing the best option for your future. Delayed gratification can boost your productivity, happiness, and well-being. Start practising delayed gratification today and see the difference in your life.

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