“I want it and I want it now”, sounds familiar? Needless to say that it is very hard to resist the badly behaving inner voice which demands an instant reward. Like that piece of magnetic chocolate in the cupboard that somehow telepathically stimulates your tastes buds or browsing aimlessly the social media to get an update on your imaginary friends. Of course, not being able to resist comes with a bold headline, featured as “the lack of purpose and meaning.”
While the previous statement is a significant blockage, brain chemistry is strongly responsible for reinforcing the unproductive feeling such as instant gratification. Once you experience the joy, your brain is exposed to dopamine and deliberately the brain encourages you to continue doing what made you feel good. This is called the dopamine reward circuit which involves several parts of the brain and fortifies the good feeling. Hence, unaware of the nature of the joy, anything that triggers the gratification, releases the chemicals which are transmitted into your brain and perceived as a source of pleasure.
Now that you know the basic physiology of the brain’s reward system, the next step is to consciously bridge the way for your present self to reach your future self by taking advantage of the feel-good chemicals ferrying in your neural pathways. Having said that your goals and your future self need not only a vision board but most importantly a philosophical vision to overcome procrastination or curb instant gratification. That vision or you may call it inspiration must be ingrained deep into your values and aligned with your temperament.
- Make a list of your goals, your resources, your talents, your shortcomings and your inadequacies. Don’t be shy jot down all the self-descriptive adjectives to clearly see what you need to improve on and what you could solidly leverage to reach your aspirations.
- Once you have the list in front of you, start an inner-dialogue and try to convince your present self why your goals are important.
- Attach meaning to your goals by re-examining your intentions. At this stage, the philosophical vision becomes crystal clear.
- Choose the most difficult goal. Why? Since you have to work super hard to reach it. As Pluto said: “Do one thing and do it well.”
- In full awareness, accept that life is full of agony, traumas, sufferings and delays.
- Tap into your higher intelligence to embrace the benefits of delayed gratification. As humans, we can exert self-control. Make use of it, consider your promise to your future self, know your “why” and avoid temptations.
- Every day remind yourself of your intended goal so that you stay on course.
- Be consistent, even if you feel miserable, put as much effort as you can since a fraction of the required work is better than none.
Staying motivated is not an easy task so if you slip up, don’t wallow on it. It happens, we all struggle, rather than giving in to your impulses again and falling into a vicious cycle, the best way out is to know that new habits take time. With patience, you can put your abilities to work to reach your goals.