I’ll fully admit that I’m not always the best when it comes to delayed gratification. I mean, I know that I’m not as bad as some people out there in the world, but I do know that one of my weaknesses is a “but I wanna be happy right now, future be damned” mentality.
Which, you know, really kind of sucks when you’re trying to clean up your financial life, because doing that requires all kinds of self-discipline and delayed gratification skills.
What in the blue hell have I gotten myself into?
Learning to manage finances is an exercise in many things. Self control. Organization. Determination. Discipline. Learning new skills. One needs all of these things in order to make a comprehensive financial plan and stick to it. It is also necessary to learn how to delay gratification. It’s a skill that I think a lot of people in our society lack. I mean, we’re all so focused on “now, now, now” that we don’t stop to consider how “now” is affecting the future. We put tough things off until “later”, in favour of “now”. Don’t believe how impatient we all are as a society? How often have you gotten frustrated — this week — when someone hasn’t returned a text or an email right away?
*raises hand* I know this happens to me fairly regularly.
I’ve been thinking about how money management and delayed gratification is similar to losing weight and getting in shape, which I’ve also done. The battle of “but I want those new shoes RIGHT NOW!!” is the same as the battle of, “I want that bowl of ice cream RIGHT NOW!!” when we know in our hearts that these wants are contrary to our long term goal, whether it be saving for a family vacation or finally fitting into those size ___ pants.
The lesson here is that we just have to keep our eye on the prize. If we can stay focused on that long term goal (whether it be saving money, getting into shape, or whatever), then the short term discomforts will seem more worth it. Sometimes life is about being comfortable in the moment, but sometimes it’s also about sacrificing those immediate comforts because you know it will lead to something even better down the road.
Until next time,