Inside: Is there any such thing as being too comfortable? Is living with less comfort the key to happiness??
Learn how to decide when enough is enough.
I pulled into the fast food line, careful to choose my favorite lane. The left side always ran faster than the right for some reason. After all, I stopped for a quick drink so often that when my 2 year old saw the golden arches, he’d point and yell, “Dr. Pepper!”
On this day, though, my mind began to wander as I sat and waited for my pop. (Yes, around here it’s a pop. The thought of calling it a “soft drink” makes me cringe!)
Had I stopped because I was thirsty? Because I needed a pick me up after getting up with a toddler overnight and then running errands all day? Or was it out of nothing more than habit?
Was this one dollar purchase even worth it anymore?
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, (either out of habit or the false idea that it will help me feel awake) I grab that 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!)
Are Small Treats Ruining Your Happiness?
Have you heard of hedonic adaptation? It’s 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 with 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 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.
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True, saving money is important. Spending on things that bring honest and true enjoyment isn’t a waste of money. But if you’re honest, there are a lot of ways you waste money daily. Are you getting any happiness from things you buy out of habit?
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.
How are you wasting money on things that just aren’t fun anymore? 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!
Set 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 things to think about in this challenge:
- The moment you allow yourself to make exceptions to the rules is the moment you stop making intentional choices for yourself. Allow your irrational brain an inch, it will take a mile.
- Choose your words carefully. Don’t tell yourself “No, you are not allowed to have pop!” That’ll make that little cartoon devil stand on your shoulder and say, “Come on, just have one!”. On the other hand, thinking “I’m choosing not to drink pop right now”, feels empowering and makes you ready to tackle the challenge.
- It’s important to plan ahead and grab a water bottle (this one is my favorite!) on your way out the door. This will help to eliminate excuses.
Stop and think about what rules you’ll need to put in place to set yourself up for the best chance at success.
Pin me and spread the happiness!
If being too comfortable isn’t working anymore, make some changes starting now.
I was able to quit my drive thru habit and made some big changes in our life. Our youngest son still asks to go to Dr. Pepper, though. It’s a good reminder not to fall back into bad habits, right??
Breaking that habit lead to some big life changes, most notably getting rid of a huge credit card bill!
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What habit do you have that isn’t as much fun as it used to be?