I was recently asked by a friend, “What’s your best advice to avoid online shopping?”
My answer, probably blunter than expected, was simply, “Close the computer and walk away.”
And that is the truth. If you close the computer and walk away, or put down the phone, you won’t be able to online shop.
Of course, that step is easier said than done.
This week, and the entire coming month, we will be bombarded with countless online messages to buy stuff we don’t need. They will all be strategically placed, crowd-tested, crafted by professionals, and designed to part you with your money.
But this year, probably more than ever, we need to take the step of resisting their appeal.
Online shopping is unique. And the temptation to buy can often be more seductive than shopping in-person in stores.
Consider this: online stores are always open, it’s easier to find individual items, the transaction can be finished in a matter of seconds, often times we don’t even need to pull out a payment card because our computer already has the information stored.
Making it even worse, we often find ourselves shopping at our weakest moments. For example, when we are tired, stressed, bored, rushed, or even inebriated. The thought enters our mind of something we’d like to own, and 30 seconds later it can be purchased and out for delivery.
76% of us shop online. And with the temptation available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, finding the strength to shut the computer, put away the phone, and walk away is not an easy task.
For that reason, it can be helpful to not just put down the phone, but to do so with purpose. Choosing a different activity other than staring at a retail store through a screen helps us put space, time, and energy between the temptation to buy and the actual purchase.
This week, when you feel the impulse to buy something online, close the computer and choose one activity from this list instead.
Ten things we could do instead of online shopping:
1. Go for a walk.
2. Read a chapter of a book.
3. Bake muffins.
4. Take a shower.
5. Play a board game with your kids.
6. Clean the kitchen.
7. Cross an item off your to-do list.
8. Call a family member or friend.
9. Sit quietly with a cup of coffee.
10. Go to bed.
Maybe you’ll find it most helpful to return to the same exercise over and over again this week and month. Maybe you’ll find it helpful to slowly work through each idea one at a time over the coming month.
Or maybe, most likely, this list will spark new ideas for your own life of pursuits and activities this holiday season more worthy of your time and energy than buying physical possessions.