Get out of debt.
Sometimes that excess spending is sneaky...and has nothing to do with spending!
Have you ever told your boss, “This is too much for me, I'm going for a walk.”?
But I have said, “I'm going to grab some coffee, I'll be back shortly.”
It's actually the same thing, but somewhere along the way, I decided the second was considerably more corporate-culture acceptable.
It also involves spending money.
The requisite Starbucks run looks like this: I bring someone along and talk about what's bothering me, and they let me know what's bothering them, and we both feel a bit better when we get back, caffeinated beverage in hand. This costs about $2 - $5 every time we do it.
If things are bad, I'll go twice a day.
That adds up fast.
You and I both know it's not the coffee that makes the day magically improve, right? So, the cheap (and healthy) solution would be to take a walk instead. I've known this for at least a few months. (Before that, I honestly thought it was the coffee I needed. Then I switched to green tea...and still required my Starbucks run.) So...why do I still do it?
Well, it feels like the culturally acceptable thing to do. If you don't smoke, a coffee break is the next best thing. There's fear - what if I get judged for taking a walk instead? And there's just habit - for the last six years, I've trained myself to crave coffee when I'm stressed.
Between my most judgmental inner-self telling me that a walk isn't business related and it demonstrates I'm not able to handle my job, and my reptile brain telling me please-I-need-coffee-I-can't-take-this-anymore! - I'm pretty much a lost cause.
Those inner voices have created a mindless consumer!
Do I honestly have to explain to myself that a walk is a healthy alternative, and all the publications say it's okay, and it will actually help me do my job more efficiently when I come back fresh?
I've tried it, and my insecure-self gets angry and stressed, and the Pavlov-trained-self craves coffee like air (it tastes like freedom!).
It's all well and good to tell ourselves that we don't need X. But until we take care of the (in my case) insecurities and judgments behind that need, it's still going to be an issue when we're triggered.
So, next week, I'm going to try to take a little more time for myself, drink a little less Starbucks, and try to talk some sense into those inner voices. It's time to stop being controlled by my stress!
But I also have to accept that retraining my brain is going to take time. Every small step is progress, and trying to stay positive in the face of my recalcitrant coffee-desiring-selves is forcing me to develop something else I have a shortage of:
Wish me luck!