Have you ever found yourself with seemingly uncontrollable urges to do things such as travel, shop, drink, eat, or even just go out and buy something new? Well I sure have! It’s funny how I seem to develop certain habits which I mindlessly follow without even stopping to wonder why I’m doing it. I find it even more interesting when I start to probe a bit deeper and examine the reason “why” I give it such priority in my life.
A perfect example of one of these “habits” I developed over the years was stuffing my face full of whatever fatty or sugary deliciousness I could get my hands on throughout the day. Whether that meant hitting up the drive thru at Checkers for an in between meal snack, or grabbing a delicious honey crueler from Tim Hortons. It seemed that whenever I had a few available minutes, and there was an opportunity, I’d find a way to satisfy that craving. The interesting thing about it was that I would find myself “sneaking” to do it and would destroy all the evidence so I wouldn’t be judged.
Of course the result of this behavior led to me being overweight, unhealthy and significantly out of shape. It’s crazy for me to believe that I’m in better shape and healthier now than when I was in my mid to late 20’s, but easy to understand when I examine the behavior I exhibited throughout that earlier time period.
Another example was my urge to buy something new. Once I’d see something I wanted, I’d feel a strong magnetic force pulling on me to run out and get it. Whether it was a new fishing boat, new clothes, new hiking equipment, or even something as trivial as a new pack of t-shirts. When I experience this type of “pull” it’s very hard for me to overcome it, and I often find myself experiencing internal dialogue trying to justify those purchases. I think things like….
“You work hard! You deserve it!”
“Sure, it’s a luxury, but think of how nice it’ll be when you own it!”
“Come on, you haven’t bought anything for yourself in a couple months, go ahead!”
The result of my caving in to this “obsessive” urge to buy something new, was a poor financial foundation and very little saving. Also, once I got over the initial excitement of making the purchase, I realized it didn’t deliver the satisfaction I thought it would. You just might have a treadmill or home gym doubling as a clothes hanger sitting around your house as evidence of a similar decision. J
I understand some people blame corporate America for their constant barrage of advertising, and the use of subliminal messaging to get them to pull out their wallet and part with their hard earned money.
Personally, I accept 100% of the responsibility for succumbing to these urges. I mean, nobody held a gun to my head. In fact, there were many times people tried to reason with me and point out why it may be a better idea to hold off on my decision to make the purchase.
Let’s think about that one for a minute.
Have you ever had someone try to reason with you and point out very clear and logical reasons why you shouldn’t “buy” something?
If you’re anything like me, you dug your heels in, tuned them out, and you even began to feel anxious at the thought of NOT buying what it is you felt you truly needed. I usually feel a tightness in my stomach, and do everything I can to ignore the evidence they are presenting to me. Sometimes it plays out in anger and I want to say, “Mind your own business!”
Look, we all have habits. I’m not writing this post with the intention of judging anyone for their behavior. I’m simply pointing out things I’ve learned through my own experience, as well as through conversations I’ve had with other people regarding their behavior. If something strikes a nerve and causes you to feel a little uncomfortable, it’s quite possible that you may be experiencing similar challenges and it’s something you need to hear, but just don’t want to.
I personally believe we are all on a quest to be “happy.” For me, it took me a very long time to determine exactly what I needed in order to achieve this state. It not only took a lot of time to figure it out, it also took a lot of trial and error. Heck, I can honestly say that I still get caught in these patterns.
For me it helps to take a look at what I prioritize the highest in my life, and then inspect whether the results of that prioritization are consistent with what makes me happiest. I’m not talking about creating a list in the order I believe it should be. I’m talking about examining my actions, and determining what evidence those behaviors show to be my true priorities.
I’ll talk more about this in my next couple posts, but I’d love it if you’d allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to leave a comment below if you’ve noticed yourself getting caught in the same type of trap. Please let the rest of us know if you’ve been able to break out of these patterns, and what you’ve done to manage through them. You just never know, your words may be a catalyst to help someone else find “HAPPY.”
Until next time … enjoy each moment!