Taking control over my consumer impulses

Me and Mr LIL decided that because of environmental and minimalistic (and that we actually don’t need anything) reasons to skip physical presents this year  and instead asking for activity based presents. Although I have obviously gotten fewer and fewer presents over the years (last year my top present was a cast iron pot and frying pan) this year is the first year we have actively told people that we don’t want physical things. It feels really good to be alined with our values but I can still feel a twinge of my old self hanging around wanting to unwrap presents and feeling the excitement of getting new stuff.

It’s the same twinge that rears it’s head when walking by shops telling me that “I just want to see if I find something” or wanting to buy things as soon as I think of a need. Since I am on my year of not buying anything new I have taken time to actually register and stop my impluses concerning wanting and buying stuff. It is really hard at times, just last night was a great example. I have been checking second hand sites for a pair of ski poles lately but haven’t found any yet. The feeling of wanting to get them NOW overpowered me so I started looking at online stores and found some nice and cheap ski poles. I even got to the order button before my logical brain kicked in and closed down the web page. It is crazy how strong the feeling of wanting to buy new stuff is and it is for precise this reason that this year of not buying anything is so valuable. I need to learn how to be in more control of what I buy and not just following my desires in the heat of the moment. Going back again to Navy SEAL Jocko Willinck’s quote:

By buying things I don’t really need I’m taking myself away from my long term goals which are so much more important to me than for example new ski poles. This year I will have to exercise my willpower and discipline but I hope that by the end of the year I will be stronger for it. That’s why getting no physical presents is also an excercise of discipline, registering that the want of new things is there but then learning to redirect my focus to my values instead and feeling content with what I have. Like going off sugar, it really sucks in the beginning and takes a lot of mental willpower and hard work but then you get used to the new normal and don’t think about it anymore. That’s where I want to be, having new mental pathways programmed so that my first instinct isn’t to buy something.

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