The power of anticipation: why you’ll be happier if you wait

This is why waiting in lines is actually good for you.

The power of anticipation: why you’ll be happier if you wait

This is why waiting in lines is actually good for you.
  • We all hate waiting in lines. You get tired, you get anxious and you just wish all the people in front of you would have picked a different line. Whether you're in a line at the grocery store or at Disneyland, waiting in line is hard.

  • I've got some personal experience with this. My family hates to wait which is why we tend to avoid amusement parks. We know we are all going to be grumpy about waiting in the lines which would outweigh the fun of the rollercoasters and attractions.

  • So when I found this article, my interest was peaked (mostly because I really want to go to Disneyland again with my family).

  • What you get from waiting

  • According to a recent study, there are two main benefits of waiting - discipline and satisfaction.

  • In the study, when "pathological gamblers were asked to think about a future experience - such as an upcoming vacation - they were better able to curb their impulses and choose long-term gratification over short-term gratification." Focusing on the long-term builds discipline and willingness to focus on something other than what is happening right now (a difficult task in today's world of immediate gratification.)

  • Waiting also builds your satisfaction - getting excited about something often means that you are making plans (or goals) for this exciting thing to happen. And as we all are reminded each January, making plans and goals is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Time Magazine agrees - "People who could identify a goal they were pursuing were 19 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves." Being better at waiting means you'll have more satisfaction when you actually accomplish those goals.

  • These qualities are rather beneficial, but how are you supposed to get better at waiting?

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  • Here are five ways that we can get better at waiting and building anticipation in our life.

  • 1. Make a plan

  • What do you want to look forward to? Is your goal to lose weight? Or read a whole series? Looking to plan a wedding or a family vacation? Set some concrete goals, do your part to achieve them and wait for even more rewards.

  • 2. Spread it out

  • Make sure that you can't accomplish your goal in an instant (remember, we're working on waiting). It might be helpful to break up your goal into tiny steps and spread out those steps over a few days, weeks or even months.

  • 3. Tell someone

  • Sometimes the best way to accomplish a goal is to get someone else involved. Whether they are simply there to report to or they are doing it with you, having someone else to report to boosts your accountability (and the reality of you actually accomplishing your goal).

  • 4. Think of the reward

  • If you've picked a goal that will take a long time, you mind need more of a reward than just satisfaction and discipline. Make sure that there is a tangible reward at the end of your goal. It might be a trip after you reach your goal weight or a new phone when you get your promotion - just choose something to treat yourself. This process also helps you see the small and the large rewards that come from accomplishing goals.

  • 5. Repeat

  • If you've done it once, try again. The power of waiting will come from repeating this experience over and over again. Learn to really appreciate the benefits of waiting by lessening your tangible reward and instead truly focus on what happens when you actually accomplish the task.

  • We all want it now - but there is power in waiting and working towards a goal for a long period of time.

Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.

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