Delayed gratification is the ability of someone to wait for something they want. It could be waiting for an activity (not going to Disneyland until you finish a task) or saving money up before purchasing an item. For many people, delaying their gratification is incredibly hard, if not impossible. Studies have shown that it is a skill we learn as small children. But no worries, all is not lost, as through a repatterning of our habits, we can work towards delaying our gratification at any age.

why would you want to delay your indulgence? Having control of your impulses will help you to make better decisions emotionally, physically, and financially. If instead of going out and buying a car now, you waited a week to research and find the best option, this delay may allow you to make a more sound (and financially responsible) choice.

What about food? Yes, I would love to eat the chocolate covered marshmallow that is on the desert table; in fact, I would like to eat 7. But instead of just popping one in my mouth, it is better to decide if it’s worth the extra sugar and potential tummy ache a few hours from now than to impulsively stuff something in my mouth.

As long as I’ve been earning money, whether it was through allowance, babysitting, or a job, I’ve been saving up to buy stuff. I am a consumer – always have been and probably always will be. My parents never allowed my brother and me to ask for something we saw on TV and then get it right away. We could save our allowance up or do some chores to earn it, but nothing was ever instant or free. I am incredibly grateful for this lesson, because the skills I gained while saving up for the newest Giga Pet translated into saving up for a Vitamix (PS I need some recipes, so please share) and my first car.

When we are able to prolong the process of obtaining something, then the moment when we finally get our hands on it is that much more valuable. You are better able to appreciate the item as you remember the hard work that went in to obtaining it.

Our yoga is a wonderful place to practice delayed gratification and patience. The first time you come into a forward fold, your hamstrings will not be instantly released and your back pain will not be cured. (If it is, please come see me because you are one of a kind!) You must keep coming back to the mat week after week to see results and use your patience to settle in to where you are, not where you want to be. It is important to set goals and achievements for our self, but it is just as important to focus on the now while you work towards those goals. Hopefully, with a practice, allowing your self to learn delayed gratification in a safe and contained space will eventually spill off the mat and into your life. So the next time you see that absolutely fabulous pair of shoes, perhaps you take just a breath to think about it before buying ;)