Long term results

How to Fix Our Desire for Instant Gratification Over Long-Term Results

Did you check yourself out in the mirror this morning? We bet you probably did. It’s also fair for us to assume that you found a bit of dissatisfaction with the image staring back. Maybe it was not as fit as you’d like with a few more wrinkles and hair popping up in places it’s not supposed to grow.

Do you know that 75% of men over 55 reports being dissatisfied with the look of their bodies? According to multiple surveys, roughly 1 in 3 Americans would give up fried food, booze, and social media if they could have their ideal body overnight. That’s crazy!

Here’s the even crazier part. Even though three-quarters of men dislike the way they look, almost half of the people surveyed, men and women, report being satisfied with their partners the way they are today. Half of us think we’re ogres that get to have sex with a hottie, while another 25% believe both sides of the relationship kiss a frog.

Enough with the crazy. Let’s take a look at the interesting part of these survey results. Over half the people claim to be willing to exercise several times per week, and an additional 15% would exercise to the point of physical pain to get the body of their dreams. 21% of respondents report a willingness to use a performance-enhancing dietary supplement to improve their looks, while another 12% would significantly restrict their diets. A full 10% would try anything that wouldn’t kill them.

The takeaway from all this data is their choice of words. Everyone says they’re “willing” or “would do” these things to improve their lives yet still decide not to do them. We know that eating better, exercising, and taking supplements result in a healthier, stronger, and sexier body.

Isn’t it interesting how many people would do these things for immediate results but not for continuous improvement?

Would you fail the test?

The test we’re referring to is the infamous marshmallow test. If you’re unfamiliar with the marshmallow test, here’s it is in a nutshell: Researchers gave kids a choice between a marshmallow now or two marshmallows in fifteen minutes. The children that waited were more likely to have better life outcomes.

So are you a one or two marshmallow type of guy? If you’re not sure, ask yourself this question, “Are you “willing” to exercise, eat right, and take supplements, or do you currently do those things?” The doers are two marshmallow people. The instant gratification, one marshmallow guy, is unwilling to wait for the result and thusly eats fast food, doesn’t work out or take supplements.

If you’re in the instant gratification camp, don’t feel bad. You’re far from alone. The experts debate whether our penchant for wanting things now is due to personality or socioeconomic factors. You probably didn’t decide to be this way, but it is possible to become more patient.

A world of convenience

We live in a world of convenience catering to our every whim or notion. Marketers and corporations feed on our lack of patience as a society. Amazon Prime delivers the next day. Netflix drops an entire season’s worth of programming all at once. DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats bring food to your doorstep in minutes.

Your options of convenience are unlimited and extend to every aspect of life. Have you tried the 6-minute ab workout or the lose ten pounds in your first-week diet pill? How about quick problem-solving solutions like the little blue pill or the male version of Spanx?

The message is the same, “Why waste time addressing your issue when there’s a temporary fix available whenever you need it.”

Forego intensity for consistency

When you decided to start working out again, did you join a gym or wipe the dust off the dumbells living in your garage for the last decade? If you’re like most men, you probably signed up for a long-term commitment at some fancy fitness center or, better yet, joined a CrossFit box. You’re really doing it, and this time it’s “go big or go home!”

Along with the new 5-day a week fitness regimen, you replace your morning bagel with a kale smoothie and invest in daily handfuls of vitamins and vats of protein powder. “I’m all in, baby!”

How long did it last? What happened after all that pain and money resulted in you looking less like Schwartzenegger in the 70s and more like the same old you a month later? You didn’t give up right away because you’re not a quitter. Instead, you slowly weaned yourself from everything by finding an excuse here and there. Then one day, like magic, you no longer have time for the gym, found an article outlining the health benefits of bagels, and the trove of supplements is past the expiration date.

Does that scenario sound familiar? We’ve all been there. It might not have been the gym, but there’s something that each of us tried intensely and failed to continue.

Slow and steady

Think about how different the scenario could be if you dusted off the old dumbells and placed them in front of the TV. Instead of attacking your fitness goal, you choose to do a few squats and ten pushups before you sit on the sofa every night. You take the stairs over the elevator and go for a walk during your lunch hour. Who likes kale? Maybe try an egg instead of cream cheese on your half of a bagel.

We know what you’re thinking, “How am I going to get ripped taking the stairs?” You’re probably not, but the odds of being in better shape six months from now are much greater. Let’s face it. If you’re over 50 and were never ripped, transforming into a fitness model is not in your future.

The key to successfully achieving anything is consistency. It’s impossible to maintain high levels of excitement and energy for an extended duration.

The payoff

When we stop to consider why we choose intensity over consistency, it’s instant gratification. Intensity is the payoff. It’s the first marshmallow. Do we ever expect to have the perfect body? Of course, not.

We fulfill our need for instant gratification by joining the gym, drinking the first kale smoothie, and spending hundreds of dollars at GNC. Our brains get an immediate dopamine hit, and a need is satisfied.

Consistency doesn’t provide a hit of anything, so the payoff is almost unrecognizable. Every day you look in the mirror, some change occurs but goes unnoticed. Take photos three months apart, and you’ll see the difference your consistent effort made. Consistency works the same no matter what you strive to achieve. It’s the long-term result.

What do you want from life? Whether it’s more money, a healthier body, a better sex life, or anything else you desire, there’s a way to achieve it consistently. It’s your choice.


Take care, even down there.

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