Why delayed gratification might be bad for you

We know it’s good to wait for what we want. To delay getting something. We know that patience is a great thing. But for some of us, delayed gratification is hiding another issue which is low self esteem. We think we don’t deserve something and so we create situations where we continually don’t get things or achieve things. This proves to us that we don’t deserve things in life ‘like everyone else does’. And so the cycle continues.

Read on for how to spot the signs that delayed gratification might just be hiding your self esteem, and how to stop this cycle with a simple method.

It’s so easy to let small situations stand in the way of bigger change. Have you heard other people, or even yourself say,

“When I lose weight, I’ll buy myself a new dress.”  “When I have more money I’ll redecorate my bedroom”.

The formula is like this.

When X [X = the thing that you need to do that you don’t want to do] I will Y [Y = the thing that you want].

The danger is that you don’t want to do X, so you never get Y. Or, we are fearful of getting Y even though it is something we really want. So rather than risk failure or rection, we don’t go after X.

The failure comes through not working out how to achieve X, or not making a plan to achieve X. Sometimes we repeat the formula so many times, without success, that we get used to not getting Y. And sometimes we have no intention of doing X so we never get Y.

The problem comes when we repeat this cycle so many times that it becomes a pattern in our lives that we repeat over and over again.

So what happens is that all our Ys are delayed, or never happen. In that way we get used to never having what we would like.

Failing to get things we want

I’m intentionally using quite basic language, for example, ‘get’ ‘want’ ‘selfish’ because I want to be able to show you that this situation is just transactional. We want one thing and agree with ourselves that when we achieve another task, we can have the ‘prize’ that we want. So what is the problem?

Why wait?

You could just say, “I want those shoes. Can I afford them? Yes = buy them, No = don’t buy them. Having objects and enjoying experiences isn’t contingent on anything else. You can just have or do what you want. So Why do we delay?

Why having what we want isn’t selfish

Having what we want isn’t just about getting what you want. Yes, it’s lovely to buy that dress, go out for lunch with a friend, buy a new house, or car. Have a baby, go on a holiday on your own, swim in the sea, make a £1Million.

Part of the purpose of getting what you want is who you become in the process of getting it.

So, you might say, I’ll buy a new dress when I have lost 5lbs/2.5kgs.

What you need to do is figure out how to lose the weight.

That’s your challenge. I mean we all know that right?  But we don’t do it because: We decide we’d rather have cake; we don’t want to change our eating habits; exercise doesn’t seem appealing; we make a bad start and think we’ve ruined our chance of achieving it.

But really we just need to try again, work it out again, until we’ve lost the weight. And then we get the reward. The dress.

But the real reward isn’t the dress. The real reward is who you have become in the process of achieving that goal. Like I’ve said above, you can just say you want the dress and just buy it. You don’t have to lose 5lbs in the process.

In the western world we can be shielded from challenges on a daily basis that help us grow into the person we are created to be. We don’t build our own houses, we don’t need to protect ourselves from predators, we don’t walk 5 miles to fetch water, our children don’t walk 3 miles to get to school. Our basic needs are met.

While a life of comfort and ease seems like a good thing, it doesn’t really stand us in good stead for developing into our potential.

So we need to intentionally put challenges in our way and work out how to achieve them.

And in our western world we are so fortunate that we are able to choose those challenges.

I mean what would you like to achieve? A new wardrobe of clothes, a new hairstyle, to look and feel better than you did twenty years ago, to be at your peak fitness at 60+, to be CEO at 25?

Whatever it is, a great starting point is with your personal style.

For two reasons.

the first is that mostly, personal style goals are relatively easy to achieve,

and the second is;

the positive impact of achieving personal styling goals has (I think) a disproportionately large positive effect on your ability to achieve other goals. We know that if you look and feel your best you feel empowered. So you can take that feeling of empowerment and channel it in to another goal.

I think personal styling goals are the first ones you need to tackle if you have fallen into this state of delaying what you want because you have low self esteem.

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And the solution to low self esteem is giving yourself goals to achieve. Achieving the goal does your self confidence no end of good. And looking and feeling great is a great antidote to low self esteem.

You will never think yourself out of low self esteem. It will always be action that moves you from that place of low confidence in yourself, to believing and trusting that you can have an affect on the outcome of your life.

So, what are you going to start with today? What are you going to challenge yourself with that will springboard you into feeling good about yourself and creating the life that you want?

At Working Frocks we have tools at your disposal to help you raise your personal grooming and styling practices. These in turn raise your self esteem and your self confidence. And when your self confidence is raised you realise that you really can start to achieve anything that you want.

Wardrobe Journaling is a six-part short course. It helps you get in touch with what you wear and why you are wearing it through the medium of your clothes, your wardrobe, and your thoughts about them both. It uses traditional journaling practices and develops them in a unique way to help you gain an insight into what you are thinking. The course takes you on the journey of discovering what you are thinking and then helps you to change whatever it is that you want to change. All the details for Wardrobe Journaling are here.

Come and join us in the Wardrobe Journaling course.

We look forward to seeing you in there.

Have a great day!


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