This feeling when you sit somewhere and you do not quite know what to do with yourself and then you pick up your phone. You flip through social media a bit and then put it away but just to pick it up a couple of minutes later because there is something else you really need to research right away. Or maybe you are working on a project on your computer and are stuck with something difficult. The minute this used to happened to me, I checked Facebook quickly to see what is going on. Without me even noticing, half an hour just passed by while the cursor patiently blinks on my research page. Out of a sudden, I found myself on Amazon. Maybe it is that gadget on Amazon.ca/com that can make me run faster, write better, measure my heartbeat better or maybe I need this book that I wanted to read for so long.
The only thing that actually gets triggered is an impulsive, unproductive response to discomfort while clicking my way through things I a) don’t really need and b) I would only purchase to buy a better version of myself. Usually, the purchases I made on amazon.com/ca were rather an impulsive twitch than an intentional action. [“I enjoyed one book by the author so let’s get all of them”]
Years ago I had this though and fitness aspiration: Okay, I have to lose some weight. I am going to start running. I knew that just with the right gear it would all be so much more fun and easy and I would be off to the races in no time. I remember how happy I was when the brown box arrived and I slid my finger through the opening to reveal my new heart rate monitor (buy this one and get two books for free, kinda), running pants, running wind jacket, running shirt, running socks and running hair band. How come I also bought a perfume, diving equipment, a flashlight, a knife and a Mont Blanc pen?
Everything was just one single click away and “so cheap”. Dangerously too, I was a PRIME member and enjoyed free shipping. Everything was magically delivered to my front door in just 48 hours. What I tried to do back then was to become a better version of myself without really putting in the work to get there. I thought that I am “taking action” when all I did was to just take out my credit card. I had been subconsciously convinced that a purchase is an action step and if I want to be a runner, purchasing a heart rate monitor is a step in that direction! The weird thing was that buying this particular heart rate monitor felt good and was exciting because I truly believed that I had taken the first step toward a healthier, better version of myself. I even checked my heart rate at the traffic light because this is what real runners do, right? Also, to impress people who waited next to me. So stupid. The next day it rained and I did not feel like getting my new equipment wet. I did not run. It rained for a week. I never wore that heart monitor again.
Looking back at my spending history from years ago, I found that I spent a huge amount of money on small, cheap, meaningless purchases that added up just because I thought they would add value to my life. Yet, those purchases did not align at all with the life that I intended to live. A lot of my money went to those unintentional amazon purchases that silently added up while holding me back from other things I wanted to do. Through monitoring my spending habits (mostly on amazon), I wanted to align my actions with my values and live more intentionally every day. It really all starts with minimizing distractions, building habits and creating new opportunities.
I started to think about my life and how I can minimize distractions and stop spending money on useless stuff. Focusing on the essential is really difficult with a distracted, cluttered mind or a tight schedule. I started to focus on the things that keep me really busy every day but take me away from things that are actually important and matter. An example would be to clear my workspace or using my phone more intentionally; meaning, not bouncing back and forth between social media apps wasting time while sharing ten million things. I learned that I simply have to slow down and be more intentional about the way that I am using my time and attention so that I can create and do what really matters to me. Next, I wanted to build a foundation of good habits. This was the time when I started to meditate and to reflect what I am grateful for. I also stopped focusing on useless things like buying yoga pants instead of doing yoga; buying a laptop instead of writing that book; buying new running shoes instead of just walking outside or buying a new camera when I don’t even use the one I have at home.
Once I created the space for a meaningful change in my life and implemented habits that matter to me it was time to take it to the next level. This, for example, could mean sharing something that I know or learned. I created my blog from scratch and used it as my creative outlet and passion project, I wrote my book and now I am working on creating an income to live with even more freedom. It is important to start creating things that matter to YOU and to create opportunities to live a greater life overall. And to think before clicking that Amazon “buy now with one click-button”.