How Giving in to Instant Gratification Causes Us to Repeat Mistakes… And Be Happier

strawberry funnel cake, whipped cream, at the fair

(Photo by Brittany)

Why do we seem to make the same mistakes over and over again? Sometimes even daily. It could be eating the same fast food that always seems to upset our stomachs the next morning, taking a call from the same guy who always seems to be too busy for us the next day, or procrastinating on doing laundry when we know it’ll take us 12 hours to do it all if we wait one more weekend.


Why do we do this to ourselves?

We know we’re going to regret these things later, even as we’re doing them. For some reason, though, we don’t seem to care what the repercussions will be. Aren’t we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Aren’t we supposed to use our failures to gain more insight and become a success? We’re all bound to slip up every now and then. And yes, it may take a few times to realize what our mistakes are. We may need to try a recipe a few times before it will come out like the picture or keep trying new ways to train your dog how to roll over. But when we know we are repeating a mistake as we are doing it, and we don’t have the self-control to stop ourselves, what does that say about us?

We seem to crave instant gratification.

It’s what makes us believe in the moment that whatever backlash we will face later is either nonexistent or won’t be bad enough to stop us from doing whatever it is that we want. Does this mean that when we give in to instant gratification we are living in the moment?

(Photo taken from

Whatever it is, it makes us human.

It keeps us from being perfect. And it does allow us to enjoy our time in the here-and-now. It may cause problems for us in the future, but as long as these problems are minimal and we don’t lose complete control over our life, I think that a little bit of this is okay. We won’t always make the best decisions. But if we constantly make the “best” decisions in our life, have everything planned out and follow the steps we lay out for ourselves to the “T,” aren’t we missing out on some of life’s simple pleasures? Aren’t we missing out on some fun adventures that were not necessarily in our plans, but were definitely worth our time? My suggestion would be to just try to live life to the fullest. Life can be very short. Learn from mistakes, but occasionally give in to the temptations of instant gratification. If you don’t allow yourself to lose a bit of control every now and then, you’ll never know what you may be missing out on.

Tell me what you think. When has an unexpected complication turned into an unexpected adventure? What kind of mistakes do you wish you could quit making? Do you agree that giving in to instant gratification isn’t always a bad thing? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Categories: Mental Health


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