It's truly liberating to make positive changes within your life. I find when I buy new things it's out of the desire to feel good, if even for that one minute before the guilt sets in of the money that I've spent. By not buying new things, you're paying your future self rather than feeding the impulsive self in the current moment. Feeding my future self feels so much better, helping create positive habits around thinking deliberately before buying.
Stopping my consumption habits are not only great for the environment; there also great for my bank account. Spending less frivolously helps give me the resources I need to focus on what I really find important in life, like my goals and dreams. Without the needless spending, I'm able to plan the things I care about like one day traveling Europe, going home to see my family more often, and saving for the Masters Program of my dreams.
It's interesting how shifting focus to what you really find as important will eventually result in changes of thought around purchasing in the present. I find the more time I spend thinking and planning my next adventure or doing research into areas of interest for future plans, the less time I spend wanting things I don't need in the present. It's as if my mind understands that my focus is the base of my life priorities, and therefore blocks out the unneeded stimuli that would usually send me spinning into a hole of impulse purchasing and financial shame.
Our focus is a powerful tool. Jenny Odell talks about this in depth in her book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. In this book she equates our focus to a powerful tool not only for bettering our understanding of the world around us, but also as a form of resistance against what we do not agree with within our society. Our attention and focus is a tool that is so often overlooked and fed so easily by fast-paced, over-saturated stimuli, resulting in a warped idea of how the world really is and unrealistic expectations of who we wish we could be. I really do think this all plays into the idea of overconsumption in a big way. By moving our attention to other things and focusing on what we think is important, we can use the tools in our repertoire to make positive changes within ourselves as well as positively impacting the world around us.
It's Your Turn:
This week, take some time to think about what it is that drives you. What are your values, hopes, and dreams? What are those goals that you never seem to get to?
I challenge you to write them down and put your energy towards them, no matter how short a time the reflection period is.
Try to refrain from judging yourself, just simply think, reflect, and see where you end up. You may be closer to positive change than you think.