I’m not a patient person. I am almost pathologically goal-oriented.
My fixation on achieving a goal is the single most effective way for me to short-circuit my needs for instant gratification. The promise of a payoff from a matryoshka doll set of plans within plans within dreams that coalesce in 2020 is enough to keep me from splurging on a haircut and a bottle of $30 shampoo…. most of the time.
I’ve learned the art and eventual value of perseverance and diligence. Endurance running, cycling, hiking, writing a novel, querying. These are the efforts and results of patience.
That being said, I don’t think I’m naturally a patient person. At all. It is a learned skill, rather than a born-in personality characteristic. The goal-oriented thing is more of a hard-coded personality trait. I leverage the natural one to encourage aspects of the skill I’ve yet to master.
I’m mulling about all of this, because I’m seeing the signs in myself of goal-self-sabotage. I can see the resolve toward 2020 goals cracking a little around the edges.
I really just want to go shopping this weekend.
My inner princess wants some goddamned instant gratification.
She wants that $60 haircut and a trip into the black hole that is Ulta that always costs $100 or more to leave. My little instant gratification monster wants a steak dinner and a real date. She wants to go to the fabric store and make a new skirt. She wants to get a tattoo and to go ziplining in the mountains (though those last two smack of the voice of Pink-Tulle Princess’s adrenaline-junkie twin sister, the Warrior Princess). Even my inner Ms. Practical says I need to fix the dishwasher and stop scrimping and saving and being so cheap by washing everything by hand.
What’s new this time around is that I can see it coming.
Usually, I scrimp and save and self-deny for months only to dip into that savings on a resentful and impulsive splurge-spree. I usually feel a good bit of “I deserve this” when I do it, and the remorse doesn’t come up until I see that I’m further behind on my goal. That I’ll have to tighten the belt even more next paycheck to make up for this folly.
This time, I can make a plan. I will not leave the house with my wallet until I have that plan, either. That busted water pipe I saw yesterday on the front sidewalk will have to be part of the plan, I’m afraid.
I’m going to give the Princess Committee a budget and the car keys. They can haggle amongst themselves how to spend it.
- The Marshmallow Experiment – Instant Gratification (disclose.tv)
- Delayed Gratification (randomandunrelated.wordpress.com)