One reason, I am convinced, we overspend and overbuy is because we expect too much from our purchases.
In a world of instant abs, one-day delivery, and get-rich-quick schemes, we often look for change outside ourselves.
We are told this product or that gadget will solve our problems. That our next purchase will be the solution we’ve been looking for all along.
Additionally, it is much easier to write a check, swipe a card, or click-to-ship than it is to suffer through the hard work of changing ourselves.
As a result, we are quick to believe the lie that we can buy change we desire.
I’ve never been a particularly organized person. And I’ve lived most of my life working to overcome my procrastination tendencies. As you can imagine, I have searched for the perfect purchase (daily planner) to overcome these two tendencies.
When I was in college, I bought the school-recommended assignment notebook to keep me from waiting until the last minute. It didn’t work. The final week of every semester was still spent up late finishing papers and cramming for tests.
When I got my first job, I tried numerous different planners to keep me on track. My boss used a Franklin Covey Daily Planner and I thought he looked pretty cool with it. So I bought one. I loved using that planner… for about 2 weeks. But I quickly slipped back into my old habits of disorganization and procrastination.
Soon after that, I bought a Palm Pilot hoping the electronic device would change my habits and tendencies. It did not.
A new planner did not change my life.
Now, I’m not saying that a planner can’t be helpful. But I am saying that it alone was not going to bring about the change I desired for my life. It was going to take much more work than that.
Change in my life was only going to come when I began to focus on habits and motivations and sought out lasting solutions and accountability. This is the formula for lasting life change—and it can not be circumvented by items at a department store.
I wonder how many purchases we make in life because we believe the purchase alone will bring about the change we desire:
- The exercise bike in the corner we thought would make us fit.
- The juicer in the pantry we thought would make us eat healthy.
- The cookbook in the cupboard we thought would make us lose weight.
- The boat in the driveway we thought would bring our family closer together.
- The hobby we thought we’d pursue.
- The clothes we thought we’d wear.
- The books we thought we’d read.
- The side hustle we thought would make us rich.
There is a fine line I’m trying to walk here. Planners are not bad, exercise bikes are not unnecessary, and not every juicer goes unused.
Sometimes these items are valuable tools. But if we fall into the trap of believing buying something new is going to magically transform us, we are mistaken.
Life change is more difficult than that. It most often begins on the inside, not at a store.