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Apr 28, 2017 08:31 AM EDT

Delaying gratification is the ability to forgo immediate benefits to achieve those bigger, long-term goals. This important skill is universally known as a key factor for success. Now, a new study found that immediate gratification can also lead to academic success and better relationships.

A study published in the "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin" surveyed 499 people to determine just how important delayed gratification is, Harvard Business Review reported. The researchers surveyed students, museum visitors, and gym-goers to learn about how immediate and delayed benefits affect them in reaching their larger, long-term goal. The study found that those who set big goals in the beginning of the year persisted more because of the feeling of enjoyment of pursuit rather than the goal itself.

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This finding may be something opposite to the norms that immediate gratification breeds impatience. There are even those who believe that immediate gratification can devalue one's life, especially due to social media, Daily Toreador reported. But the new study debunked this, claiming that immediate benefit, when harnessed properly can also lead to achieving long-term goals.

The joy of eating green healthy food is an immediate benefit that can also lead to the long term goal. Just like how the joy of studying is an immediate benefit that could help give students bigger grades by the end of the school year. Harnessing the joy from these immediate benefits can lead to achieving long-term goals, which is the major finding of the study.

To harness the power of immediate benefits, one must first think of enjoyment when choosing the activities to do in order to achieve the long-term goals. The second technique in harnessing the power of immediate gratification is to pamper oneself with more immediate benefits, like making activities more enjoyable, while pursuing long-term goals. Third is to focus on the good things about the particular activities instead of thinking about the long-term goal, when pursuing that bigger target.

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