The Mental Shift of Delayed Gratification

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Photo by Matthew Bowden

Me and Instant Gratification are lovers. We’ve been intimate with each other for a very long time, and I am fiercely loyal.

But then my husband decides to do the Master Cleanse diet as a way to reboot his body and his focus towards a healthier lifestyle. Basically, while on the Master Cleanse, you drink this spicey lemonade concoction and natural laxatives for 10 days… and nothing else. I did it with him for 24 hours before I cracked and told him (and I quote), “Fuck this shit! I’m eating food.”

But my husband, with his indomitable willpower and laser focus, has just completed day five of the Master Cleanse and is still going strong. He is going for Delayed Gratification.

Delayed Gratification: To give up something I enjoy now for something that I will enjoy even more in the future.

I have read about delayed gratification for many years. My brain processed the words and understood the concept, but I never grokked the concept until I watched my husband go through this Master Cleanse diet. I went through one of those mental shifts where something finally clicks, and you exclaim, “Oh! That’s what they mean!” If I don’t eat that donut now (or any donuts for the forseeable future), I will get to have abundant energy, general contentment and clear skin and get to wear the fun clothes. The donut, which I would enjoy very much, must be sacrificed for the future health and playfulness, which I would enjoy even more.

So now I understand — truly understand — delayed gratification and all the wonderful things that can come from it. I haven’t kicked Instant Gratification out of my bed yet; one does not change overnight. But I have seen a different, and perhaps better, way to act.

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