It begins with just that, skill.
Begin with simple things. Go to the mall. Bring all of your credit cards. Watch other people spend their wallets to death. Stay for three hours if you like, then go home having spent nothing. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Do this for 30 days. If necessary, bring a friend and tell them to keep you in line. (You do not pull out your checkbook, cash or credit cards.)
Sound like fun?
It was not for me. I did this with my daughter so that when she went to college she would not feel an uncontrollable need to go party with her friends when she needed to study, or spend all of her time watching TV and sitting on the phone. I already had determined (in my mind) she would go to University and do well. She graduated with her bachelors in psychology at the University of Minnesota in 3 years, not because I was a savant father, but because SHE had the ability to delay gratification.
But I hold parental privilege to proudly share.
Next, do something more difficult.
Go to iTunes every day for one month. Spend all kinds of time their searching out your favorite music, movies and games. Do not spend a penny for 30 days. When you are done, do NOT spend money at amazon or on shoes or clothes or anything else either.
It is VERY important to not become a victim to the Passive Goal Guidance System in your brain.
For something with a cool name like the PGGS, it sure can cause a lot of problems in life. Here is how it works and how to take advantage of it.
Now think for a moment. This is where almost everyone goes wrong. Right?
Humans restrain themselves from something and then immediately reward themselves in another part of life which will be just as costly.
So wait, is it not expensive to go to University?
So what is the difference between University and party expenses?
Strategic Thinking and Activation
I will go into greater detail about strategies in an upcoming CD program but I feel compelled to give you a few more tactics for power building today.
If you are familiar with delayed gratification being a part of your life, your temptations will still be very real and you will be familiar with the experience. You know it can be difficult.
This is the kind of a skill that is developed.
But it is also easy to think you are succeeding when you are failing.
When you go home or get off iTunes you really will STILL desperately want to reward the behavior you just performed. (Delaying gratification) You will want to be impulsive and treat yourself to chocolate or something that has 500 calories.
Do not succumb to your brain constructing entitlement for you.
Your brain wants to feel rewarded because you deserve it. Know that you will get your shoes or chocolate or whatever next month. You can trust yourself. I promise.
Instead, today, go cuddle. (Check with your parents if you are under 18, or your children if you are over 75) Go take a walk with someone you care about. Eat an orange.
But delay gratification on the things that will make you fat, stupid, and thoughtless to others.
How else do you build skill at delaying gratification?