Defeating short term gratification | INFJ Forum

Featured Defeating short term gratification

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by slant, Mar 24, 2020.

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  1. slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    The past year or so of my life has been dedicated to changing the way I live, habits and such, in order to have a better one.

    Short term gratification is essentially the root of all of my problems. I had pinpointed it on escapism, but escapism is just an aspect of short term gratifications allure.

    I think the desire for short term gratification is a human problem, not a "me" problem. Genetics, brain development ( whether you've got a fully developed brain or not) all play their role.

    I find we live in a society that in many ways is set up to foster the tendency for short term gratification in humans.

    No one thing is "bad", it is merely how it is used. I think of the inherently biochemically addictive aspects of

    Video games
    Cell phones
    Television and streaming services

    These are high reward activities that require little effort.

    Less stimulating activities that I struggle with:

    Eating (the desire to control Emotional state with or without food)
    Consumerism ( buy what you don't need to make you happy in the moment)

    We have a limited amount of willpower, so trying to eliminate and change everything at once is ineffective. You have to replace bad habits with good habits.

    Yet sometimes it feels impossible to eliminate short term gratification from my life, and perhaps there should be some short term gratification, but the main question is:

    How do you solidify long term gratification and prioritize that which will result in it?

    Thoughts welcome
     
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  2. ReasonEnduring

    ReasonEnduring Community Member

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    Firstly it helps to have a major longterm goal in mind. I want to pass X exam for example. Then I break it down into smaller pieces. I'm going to spend X hours a day studying, from 10:00 until 4:00 with a break between 12:00 and 1:00.

    If things go wrong, such as I can't do the studying expected, pick it up the next day. Have the path to the longterm goal flexible enough that mistakes don't derail you.

    Keeping away from stress helps (easier said then done), but it helps having a positive mindset. If you're feeling low you'll grab for the quick fixes easier.

    Drinks help, keeping hydrated with teas, juices, anything you can sip whilst working. Music can help, play an entire album whilst working.

    Also be aware having too many projects mean some will be dropped. For a long time I had to put everything to the side whilst I worked on my immigration package.

    However, it doesn't mean you can't come back to it later.
     
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  3. OP
    slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    It's interesting; I do all of the things you recommend, but even when I have a schedule, following the schedule becomes a problem. I can follow maybe 60% of what I want to accomplish in a day and once I've reached a certain level of achievement I'm exhausted and I don't force myself to do the rest. I know I am still making progress this way, but it frustrates me that I cannot do all that I ambition to do, that my brain just "gives out" on me.

    And I'm not even spending the "time saved" from not doing what I scheduled myself to do for fun. There are times where, instead of doing what I should be doing, I'll sit and stare at the wall. It even gets to the point that I'll just go to bed hours early rather than to stay awake because I know if I'm awake I have no excuse not to do what I'm supposed to do, and I also know I can't do anything other than what I've scheduled without feeling immensely guilty, so I just go to sleep and call it self care.

    Maybe I just lack something that others have. I see no reason why it should be this psychologically difficult to do what I *want* to do, but because it's all challenging and does not provide immediate results, it all feels like chores, often once I get into the activity I enjoy it but actually getting myself to start the activity holds me back the most. Then again, there's times where I start an activity and get frustrated 10 minutes in and quit.

    I can keep my schedule strict for about 4 days solid and then after that I just start to feel like I can't do anything at all and go into this shut down mode for the next 2-3 days. It's very bizarre.
     
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  4. ReasonEnduring

    ReasonEnduring Community Member

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    To be fair I have that too. Thats why I said flexible goals. Some people can work morning till night totally focused. Not everyone is like that. Plus real life can get in the way, especially if you live with other people or have dependants.

    If you're hitting 60% then thats actually not too bad. Work on pushing it up to 70-80% maybe but we're not machines. Sometimes we need fun downtime.

    Sometimes doing breakers in the middle like chores or taking a shower can help.

    Getting start is hard its true but its a case of pushing until you get about 30 minutes in. Forbidding yourself anything else.

    Think of it like a muscle. Habits and routines take I think 7 to 11 times before they settle in. Breaking in new habits takes a lot of effort. It might just be a case of perserving until you hit a breakthrough.
     
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  5. OP
    slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    I struggle with fun downtime. I keep trying to make it constructive and it never works out. Man you would think after struggling with this for at least 6 months I would have figured it out but alas...

    Anyway I'm digressing. Interested in hearing other people's thoughts.
     
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  6. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    Interesting topic as usual, @slant.
    I’m writing this after a day of short-term gratification slip-ups, which is unusual for me. Hahaha.
    Perhaps if you focus on positives instead of restrictions, the short-term gratification you want to omit won’t be as attractive. Restrictions are punishment or forbidden.
    Instead, focus on what you want out of life and edit out what you don’t want. If you continue to want all the foods and activities you are forbidding yourself to have, it will make them more desirable and you’ll slip up. If you focus on building a life that actively contains what you want and focuses on goals, you’ll only include those things that fit and you won’t desire what doesn’t fit.

    Shopping: Don’t buy things that aren’t useful and that you don’t want to keep long-term. If you don’t want to carry things with you as you travel through life, don’t buy them.
    – I avoid spending on clothing I won’t wear by defining a long-term style that suits me and sticking to items I need to replace worn items, or because something I could use regularly or for a special occasion is missing from my wardrobe.
    – A friend used to keep a list by her bed. Achievement = reward. For example, if she earned a certain GPA, she could go on a trip.

    Food: Allow the snack of your choice, but in a limit that works for you. I have a fierce sweet tooth, so I eat only one sweet item per day, and a reasonable amount of it. Making the choice is part of the ritual/reward and fun. I also don’t crave more and skip some days. Exercising and keeping fit makes me feel awesome, and eating junk makes me feel gross, so balancing my life more toward fitness makes me crave junk food less. I also like “real” food and cooking, so I try to focus more on fun foods to eat for nutrition.

    Priorities: You need time to unwind and goof off, but other things need to come first. Don’t forbid fun. Figure out how much you can realistically fit into your day without burning out. Do the most important things first or prioritize them. Don’t add clutter you can’t handle. Everyone’s productivity is different, so adjust according to what is best for you. Don’t over-commit.

    Screen time: Gaming/ TV: Prioritize your screen time and sacrifice some screens for others based on the screen that gives the highest reward.
    Screen time: Phone/Streaming/Social media: What’s your goal for all of this? Honor the goal. If scrolling and streaming is part of your wind-down/goof-off time, it should cut into your TV and gaming time, not your productive time. If you’re using it to connect with others, fit it into your relationships time, not study time. Make sure you are using the time you spend staring at the screen in the way you want.

    What are you doing when you’re staring at the wall? If you’re thinking, it is not a waste of time. Add that to your schedule. The greatest thinkers and creative people do “nothing” but think. It’s part of the process. If you’re staring at the wall because you’re burned out, you need more “unwinding” time.

    If you can’t follow a “schedule”, don’t follow “a schedule”. Note what you need to accomplish in a day, note the time it takes to accomplish these goals, and begin in no particular order unless certain activities are clear priorities.

    The shut down mode seems like you’re over-committing and you’re not regulating your time realistically. You’re burning out. You need to omit something from the schedule. You also need to know yourself and accept that you need a certain amount of decompression time or you’ll burn out. Down time doesn't need to be constructive beyond helping you recharge and stay balanced.

    I also think you’re at an age where you can be more careless with your time because you’re exploring life, your mind and ideas, people and relationships, and what paths you will choose. Just make sure you’re using your time the way you really want to be using it.
     
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  7. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Well...

    My ego and libido drive the majority of my choices so my way of making my libido more functional is to insist on entering marriage. As for my ego, I don't brag about the small stuff. I aim big, like huge, to resist expressions of pride.
     
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  8. OP
    slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    Oh I don't consume ANY streaming or TV at all. Or video games. Or social media. My solution was to simply cut all of it out.

    Same with food. I don't eat anything but specific things on a specific schedule. I don't snack. I don't eat desserts. It's monotonous and boring but that's what it has to be.

    The whole fun thing has been a conundrum because I cut out all the things that were fun for me and my only outlet has been socializing and we know how that's going.

    When I'm staring at the wall, sometimes I'll just be curled under my blankets, my head is totally empty. It's a strange feeling. It's like that sensation you get after seeing something traumatic like a car accident and you find you just don't know what to think about it. No thoughts just staring at what happened trying to process it. Except that nothing happened. Sometimes I'll think, "I wonder how long I'm going to do this. This doesn't seem very productive. What is happening" but that's usually the extent of it.

    Good tips with shopping.
     
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  9. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    @slant - I admire how disciplined you are, but you need to make time to play. It's good for you. It sounds like the staring at a wall thing is just your body's way of decompressing.
     
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  10. OP
    slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    Yeah I know. I just haven't figured out a way of play that isn't any of the things I've cut out . Sometimes reading is fun but even that eventually becomes work because then i have to review the books afterwards. Maybe one day I'll find something healthy that I can use to have fun.
     
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  11. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    Just explore different interests. Try to let it happen "organically", though.
     
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  12. df5hn

    df5hn Newbie

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    Just a few of my thoughts on short term/long term gratification.

    I understand that my take on such a subject is based on a three month period some 34 years ago...... but i believe the premise and my overarching point to be still valid today.

    I'm fortunate to have learnt a very valuable lesson in the summer of 1986 - thanks to my grandparents who both worked on farms, RIP.

    When i was 7yo me and my 6yo brother were always up to mischief - if it wasnt letting the neighbours tyres down or throwing fireworks and their houses then it would be our trips to town on a Saturday morning to pick up our pea shooters and cause havoc - i suppose this can all be classified as short term gratification...albeit in the non conventional and rebellious sense. ( Personally I blame the Guns N Roses album Appetite for Destruction )

    Anyways ....over a period of three months in the summer of 86 we found ourselves only having permission to leave the house to go and visit our grandparents - my grandparents worked hard on farms but his love was botany - he came up with an idea to get our attention of having a sunflower growing contest between the three of us . So from planting those first seeds and we creating bespoke formulas to make them grow faster and bigger it really laid a foundation in our mind to concentrate on a bigger picture . For the next three months we would be cycling there every night after school to measure the growth each day....it really did change our ways even at that age. We were there more than at home and started growing everything you could think of until we started our secondary school at 11yo.

    Today the world is different in the sense of being connected through fibre/copper and the cloud - so much to learn and be entertained by. Even today's grandparents are plugged in - We only had the four TV channels in those days and the interactivity wasnt so personal.

    Now im not suggesting to go and buy some sunflower seeds and have a competition with your girlfriends or siblings :grin: - one could argue that your expanding your mind right now by articulating some of your thoughts and feelings on these threads...but is this still short term gratification ?

    I totally get what you are saying , in 2020 how can the majority of the people out there prioritise or solidify long term gratification - imo its getting that experience of creating / nurturing something right in front of our faces . Comes from creating or supporting life i.e having or nurturing children or growing other forms of life. It really drives you on and much of the short term stuff just becomes not worthy of time by default.

    Recently me and my brother have been thinking of getting an allotment to grow our own food - so we can feel we are doing something worth while as we did that summer. Its just so rewarding i promise you that and it tends to do something to the brain imo . I cant think of anything else that cant be done on a continuous year round basis that brings everything into perspective and trains the brain in leaning the difference between short/long term gratification.
     
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  13. OP
    slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    Thank you for this very long and detailed reply I appreciate it. I did buy an office plant but she is sadly dying. Keeping things alive is hard!
     
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  14. ReasonEnduring

    ReasonEnduring Community Member

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    Try a Peace Lily. Those things are very hardy. I bought on about 4 years ago. It travelled between several houses, almost died several times but is still alive back in the UK according to my family.

    Drop of water every few days, no real special treatment required. Doesn't like direct sunlight but near a window is good. Can just feed and forget.

    It may not bloom if f its under norished though, but it won't die.
     
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  15. df5hn

    df5hn Newbie

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    I still eat the apricots of the tree i grew at 7yo , i think that means long term gratification , or is it short term like eating an apple you buy at the store ?

    That will twist your noodles.:laughing:
     
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  16. df5hn

    df5hn Newbie

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    Is there any thread on here which discusses any INF- music preferences or tastes ?

    Might start a thread but dont want to rehash a continuation of another .....any pointers or knowledge of such a thread would be appreciated.
     
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  17. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone Well-known member

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    In my experience, and I will admit I struggle in a similar way I think, there is something to the idea of a 'treat'.

    I haven't had a treat in over a decade. I am single and unencumbered. I don't make a lot of money but for me and my needs it is enough to do what I want when I want. However, what I wanted for all these years was short term gratification.

    Point is, I wanted more, but for the wrong reasons, so there was no passion in the sense that passion means suffering. There was no sustainable drive. I think in one of the posts the idea of replacing bad habits with good ones was mentioned. I don't think, in the ideal scenario, this will be entirely conscious.

    Passion will replace apathy, it can't not, but it can't be faked or manufactured. It is or it isn't. Then, when genuine honest-to-God fatigue kicks in, it is time for some well-earned short term gratification for a short while. Short term gratification is then a means of self-care.
     
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  18. Wyote

    Wyote ○●○
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    I think this is relevant @slant and it's a dude I followed cuz of something @ruji shared a while back.
    You can skip to about 12min for the specifics, though the intro is pretty funny.
    I think you might be at a point now where you could re-introduce some things in safer ways.
    It's not about ridding yourself entirely, it's about having some semblance of control over the things you engage in.
     
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  19. OP
    slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    Yeah I'm still struggling with phone addiction because it's a social thing for me. I was able to quit for a couple of days but it gradually wedged it's way back. It's frustrating.
     
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  20. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    One of the things I remembered is that for the largest wins to be achieved, we've got to win small and fail small. Once you've failed enough and start to win, you just keep winning and winning and winning until you beat failure to death.

    And that's what a date with me is like, being beat to death.
     
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