How do we root out instant gratification?


So I think I’m not out of line when I say that our society is obsessed with instant gratification. With practically all the information in the world a few clicks away, we have little to no attention span and struggle to get started on truly fulfilling things in life.
I’m a high school student. I want to break free.

I don’t want to be ungrateful to my parents and throw away this fancy phone they got me (I doubt that’s the right answer anyways), and I think that having these things to be entertained with is very good when they’ll earned, but about 85% of the time, at least for me, they’re not. I know I’m not alone in this, but I see everyone talking about this problem without looking for the answer. Please, does anyone have any ideas?


Are you looking for ideas to help yourself overcome the temptation to demand instant gratification, or to help society as a whole overcome this as a widespread issue?


In your case, you could set limits on your phone usage (like 1 hour in the evening, for instance).
Maybe you could give yourself incentives for sticking to it, like treating yourself to your favorite snack if you succeed in a week.
(I hold out little rewards for myself if I’m doing something that’s really not fun, but I have to do it :slightly_smiling_face:)


Start practicing self abnegation - in other words denying the self… in small ways. Do not start with big things or you’ll give you and lose heart…think of it like marathon training, if on the first day of training you run the marathon as training, you’d likely fail and injure yourself…spiritual training is much the same.This doesnt have to be fasting in food, but it can be. It can be literally anything. This is one of the reasons why the church has so many many rules and regulations incidentally :wink: to give us opportunities for this and to keep us in line, like children and one day we learn to do it all out of love. Ok so say you feel like a cup of coffee, wait ten minutes then have one. Say you want a chocolate bar, have just one bite. Do it for Jesus. You want to lie in bed, get up and say your morning prayers. You want to go lie on your bed and listen to music, help your mom/dad with dinner instead (or just chat to them and keep them company), you feel like chatting on your computer with your friends, spend the evening with your parents instead. Start denying yourself what you want in little things or even just putting them off, then slowly you will want to put soemthing else in there… something for God, like prayer or doing small acts of love for your family and friends. God will guide you. In a very short while you’ll realise the things you are doing, are God’s will. I know you mentioned specifically the phone, this doesnt have to be left out… just don’t make it too central in life. I have a social media free day on Sunday for God, so I just read spiritual books and watch a spiritual movie and goto church. I live alone and am not well enough to go visiting as well as church so it works for me. But if it’s too much for you, you could have social media free hour, like choose an hour for your family and then maybe an hour for God or some such and put your phone on aeroplane mode so you can’t be tempted by incoming bings or turn it off. God bless you. All the little things done with great love are well received or so St Therese always showed us.


If you pray for others and do acts of charity, your cellphone time will decrease.


Advent is a great time for evaluating phone use and entertainment!

This article/podcast has some tips for breaking free of phone addiction, once you get past all the momtalk.


There’s no easy answer IF you ignore the easy answer.

As others have said, self denial is the solution, nice and easy. It used to be said that an adult differs from a child with regard to gratification, amongst other things, a child demands instant gratification and an adult can delay gratification. In a way we have weakened ourselves through many modern day luxuries, including internet shopping, credit and virtually effortless interpersonal relationships via smartphones etc.

There are benefits of course to these things, for vulnerable people, the elderly or disabled and isolated so I wouldn’t advocate disuse but definately self denial. Limit phone time, save for things you think you need, and see people in person and enjoy the richness of physical interaction once greatly enjoyed by everyone.

Er, perhaps I should switch off now :slightly_smiling_face:


Honestly both, everyone needs it. I guess I did make it more about me in my post though. I’d be very interested in hearing an idea for society.


I think we need to understand that we can only control our own behavior and perhaps to some degree that of our children and our family members and close friends. We can’t really control what “society” is doing or pushing, except by being a good example.


The answer is simple: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving.

  1. Prayer: Spend time with God
  2. Fasting: Spend time away from the things you like
  3. Almsgiving: Spend time in service to others.

This is how we train ourselves to be less self-centered and more God-centered and other-centered. It doesn’t mean we can never enjoy the things we like. But the act of intentionally choosing not to have some good thing that we enjoy is a very powerful way to retrain our heart, mind, and soul.

I know for many teens today, phones are a huge distraction. We had a youth gathering at our parish a month or so ago, and our priest asked the kids to put all their phones in a box during the gathering. After that, many of the kids truly struggled just to have a conversation with each other. We have been trained to do all our communicating over social media rather than in person. It can take some time to “untrain” that.

If your phone is a distraction for you, think about when, where, and how you waste time on it. Maybe leave it in your room when you are in the living room. Or leave it in the dining room when you are in your room. Put some physical distance between you and the phone. Maybe this means you won’t immediately see and reply to the occasional text message. That’s okay.

I’ve known people who intentionally downgraded to a “dumb phone” because it was far less distracting. Do what you need to do.


As a 20YO college student, I think procrastination is a tough thing to work through sometimes. You can set limits on your phone for how much internet time is allowed and after X amount the Internet app won’t allow you to use it.

I have disabled incognito and private browser on my phone, iPad, and computer because it was a source of lustful temptation and also procrastination. If that is a problem for you, disable those. They aren’t that easy to disable and I’m not a techy person lol, so I watched YouTube videos on how to do it

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