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When is the last time you really challenged yourself to try something? Something new, something tough, or maybe just something that requires some intentional decision making.
I’ve been asking myself this question lately. And one thing happened to spring to mind as I was out running errands one day.
Is it too comfortable in here?
Here’s the thing. I always try to keep a good budget and be careful about where our money goes. But I have a definite weakness…
I can almost always justify a food purchase.
Food is a need, right?! So when I’m out and about and need a drink (either out of habit or the false idea that it will help me feel awake) I grab a quick Dr. Pepper from a gas station or a drive thru.
This habit seems innocent enough. It only cost a buck or two each stop. And I almost never do it more than once a day. It happens maybe 3 or 4 times per week (if I’m busy with errands).
Well, you already know the latte effect. (No sense in beating on that poor horse anymore!) Obviously my small habit is adding up… to $6 per week/$24 or $30 per month/$312 per year. (Ok, so I hadn’t done the math until this blog post and that number seems pretty striking for such a small habit!)
I have also been thinking about hedonic adaptation a lot lately. Hedonic adaptation is the idea that humans adjust pretty quickly to either positive or negative changes in their lives. The level of happiness (or unhappiness) that you feel on a daily basis is how you’ll tend to feel no matter what your circumstances are.
So people who have a mindset that they’d be super happy if only they could win the lottery are missing out on a lot of happiness now. Especially since it’s unlikely that winning the lottery would actually make them happier.
Now let’s apply that idea to everyday life. How many small treats do you give yourself each day? Are those things actually still treats for you, or have they become an expectation? If you haven’t really savored the taste of that Dr. Pepper in a long time, then it’s no longer a treat. It’s a daily expectation.
Time to get nice and uncomfortable
There is such a thing as being too comfortable. When you don’t allow yourself to experience discomfort, it becomes hard to really enjoy life’s little luxuries.
It’s important to me that I not waste our money on things that aren’t true necessary items. I don’t mind spending money on things that bring honest and true enjoyment.
But if I’m honest, there are a lot of ways that I waste money daily. And this wasteful spending doesn’t even give me the benefit of a moment of happiness anymore.
So today when my son’s dentist appointment ran long and didn’t go well, and even though I didn’t get much sleep last night…I made it all the way home without stopping for my Dr. Pepper!
I have decided to challenge myself to no longer stop for an expensive drink while I am out running errands or following appointments. And I encourage you to choose a small way to challenge yourself out of your comfort zone.
In what ways are you wasting money on things that no longer bring you honest enjoyment? Is it a magazine subscription that you never read anymore? Do you tend to hit the vending machines every day? Maybe you have a problem with pop or drinks like I do?
Choose your small area and challenge yourself to get out of that comfort zone!
Laying out the rules
You will have to make your own rules so that you have the best outcome possible. Before you begin any challenge, it’s important to know yourself. Do you respond better to a cold turkey approach? Or maybe you are more likely to stick with it if you allow yourself occasional “cheats”.
Here are some truths about myself that I have to remember to make it through this challenge:
- The moment I allow myself to make exceptions to my rules is the moment I stop making intentional choices for myself. If I allow my irrational brain an inch, it will take a mile.
- I cannot look at this challenge as a finite ruling. If I tell myself “No, you are not allowed to have pop!” I know for sure that the little devil will take up residence on my other shoulder and entice me to have just one. On the other hand, if I tell myself “I’m choosing not to drink pop right now”, I feel empowered and ready to tackle the challenge.
- It’s important that I plan ahead and grab a water bottle (this one is my favorite!) on my way out the door. This will help to eliminate my excuses.
Stop and think about what rules you’ll need to put in place to set yourself up for the best chance at success.
These steps will have you stepping outside your comfort zone in no time!
Be sure to let us know how you’re challenging yourself so we can encourage each other!