It is no secret that the quality of consumer merchandise has dropped significantly in recent decades. Products made today are not designed to last more than a season or two and are nearly always cheaper to replace than to repair.
Instant gratification is wanting everything now, and its converse is deferred gratification. Low impulse control provides short term satisfaction but causes long term chaos, imbalance, and personal failure, while high impulse control causes short term dissatisfaction but provides long term order, balance, and personal success.
Here are some classic examples of how the impulse of instant gratification works in real life:
- If you are seeking a relationship, you want it to unfold as magically as in the movies, and you’re impatient about building rapport and getting to know someone. Beguiled by Hollywood, you believe that romance is as simple as locking eyes across the room, talking breathlessly, and effortlessly plunging into a whirlwind of pleasurable experiences.
“Debt is the worst poverty.” – Thomas Fuller
It was only a few years ago when I was overloaded with debt – so much so that I couldn’t make all my payments and I had numerous debts sent to several collection agencies. I had creditors calling me for late payments, and I was juggling them, constantly stressed about how I was going to make my car payment and make rent. It’s hard to imagine those days now – the unbearable burden of that debt – because as of this year, I am debt free!
It’s an amazingly liberating feeling to be free of debt. Your money is your own, and you have breathing room in your budget for saving, investing, and buying what you need.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
While you can cut costs here and there, the real, lasting changes won’t come until you change your habits. If you currently give in to impulse purchases on a regular basis, for example, you’ll still spend a lot of money despite making numerous cuts in other areas.
An important long-term strategy is to create new, sound financial habits, one at a time. See The Power of Less for more on creating new habits. Use the effective habit-change techniques in the book to change one habit at a time. Here are some important habits to form: