Think of yourself as two different people… “Now You” and “Future You”.
“Now You” wants what feels good now. What tastes good now. What suits you now.
It’s like if someone says “I will give you $10 today or $100 in a month… which would you prefer?” and you decide every time to go with the $10, even though $100 in a month is a WAY better deal.
This is the essence of immediate gratification. Your current needs are prioritized over your future needs.
Humans have an inherent tendency to overvalue something in the present vs. something bigger and better only available in the future.
So, the question is, how do you overcome this “Now is Better” mindset?
How do you achieve goals for Future You that require you to bypass the desires of Now You?
Yes, there is a little bit of willpower, but it’s definitely not something you can rely on all the time.
A great strategy is figuring out a desirable and slightly better alternative to the choice that Now You wants. This way, rather than operating on a mindset of restriction and deprivation, you can operate on a sliding spectrum that makes making a different choice just a little easier.
Choosing between having a donut or not having a donut sucks. But choosing between having a donut or having a bowl of vanilla yogurt with honey and granola might be an easier choice.
This way, you can keep Now You happy while working towards what Future Wants as well.