We all love to repeat those experiences that make us feel good! It’s a brain-thing! Our brain will release endorphins and dopamine when we experience something new, exciting or challenging. In recovery, we have learned all about dopamine.
Shopping can create those same feelings, and shopping comes in many forms, not just at the mall or online shopping. If we just finished a great vacation, we are quick to want to book another vacation! If we had an amazing meal with friends, we are so ready to go out to eat again. It’s really not so much for the food, but to repeat the fun that we had. It’s all normal!
Where it’s challenging, is when you are trying to stay on your budget or spending plan. You have worked hard to create a budget, to look at your expenses. You have set goals to save money, and as hard as it is, you have learned that even a small bit of money saved each day, will help towards those long term plans that you have made.
I had a student share with me that when he left work with his cash tips, he walked past his favorite shoe store everyday, and it was very tempting to go in there and shop. He asked for my advice, and I told him 3 things:
- Go home a different way,
- Go straight to the bank and deposit the tip money. Get it off your hands!
- I also told him to put a picture in his wallet of his favorite retirement picture!
The thing about it is, it’s really hard for all of us to have that self-control at the moment. These temptations can happen anywhere at any time. It could have been a different shoe store, and worst yet, the shoes may have been on SALE! Then our brain, will rationalize, and more often then not, we have talked ourselves right into it, only feeling regret afterwards….
Planning for these temptations is so important! They will happen…No matter how tempting, go home, think about it, and then come back to it. It may still be a decision that is not in your spending plan, but at least you gave yourself time, and you did not give into the immediate gratification and impulse that the brain is programmed to do.
No matter what, keep visiting your goals, learn about yourself, and DO NOT beat yourself up! The only way to succeed is to constantly learn about ourselves, being honest and keep moving forward!