How to change your life, identifying short vs long term rewards

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

There is so much literature on how to change your habits, outlooks and opinions. But, when you are in a muddled-up headspace and need clarity, the last thing you want is drummed out guidance, you are all too familiar with.

Without wasting any time, let’s jump into it. There are very few short-term rewards which yield long term rewards. Additionally, ignoring short term rewards yields long term rewards. Basic examples of this would be; drinking a soft drink, smoking a cigarette or driving fast yields a short-term reward, yet it has no reward in the long term and adversely drastically increases your chances of negative long term results. Ergo, ignoring an impulse or impulsive moment in the short term yields long term positive results.

Identifying what impulse you are being presented with and more importantly, is said impulse productive in the long term—needs to be a key focus. “Now rewards” or impulse decisions hang on our current frame of mind, surroundings and influences, meaning that for the most part, they will contradict your goals and at times diminish your outlook on yourself. You can think of many examples of this, from lust to shopping the list is endless.

This is not to say you become a prude, shying away from doing exciting things in life but rather choosing options which are knowingly healthy for you, your life, goals and relationships.

A simple exercise:

List the last 10 impulse decisions you made, which resulted in you feeling bad about yourself, hurt, upset, or took from you in the long term.

Out of the 10 listed items, how many have you repeated, even though you know it is bad for you?

Lastly, write down a list of benefits you would receive in the long term from deleting said impulses from your life, no matter how difficult. You now have direction on where to focus, just develop on it.

Self-checking and daily management is everything, focussing on positive impulses and stimulations, and long term rewards will undoubtedly impact your life.

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