I have a bad habit that I need to break.

Online shopping (or browsing) has taken over my free time. It’s stupid. It’s about as brainless as watching TV. Somehow it’s become my leisure activity. I browse and browse, and I don’t even buy anything. Okay, sometimes I buy something. But only after weeks and weeks of thinking about it, analyzing it, and then finally giving in at a weak moment or when it goes on sale (an easy way to justify the purchase).

As women, why do we shop and spend money on superficial things that we know aren’t going to make us happy?

Out of boredom? Out of habit? Because as women, we’ve been told to care about how we look?

It’s something we should ask ourselves. WHY is always the most important question. When we understand why we do things, we understand our own motivations and how to change them.

This is an interesting read on why women spend more money on things than men.

What is your time suck?

I have the feeling I’m not alone in this activity. It might not be shopping for you – it might be Instagram, or Facebook, or YouTube beauty tutorials, or another time suck that is unworthy of your time and attention.

How many hours have I wasted? I could’ve used that time for so much more — learning something new, intentionally relaxing with a bath or meditation, giving to others, giving to myself, becoming the best version of myself.

Now that I know better, I do better. 

I recognize that it’s become an unconscious habit. A habit that has been formed through repetition. It will persist unless I become aware of when, where, and why it happens and create a new habit to replace it.

  1. Identify when, where, and why it happens
    • When I’m bored at home, on the couch after dinner when I don’t have a “next thing” to do (because my entire day is planned except for that time of day)
    • When I’m tired, in the morning or before bed (because I’m avoiding whatever I’m supposed to be doing — getting out of bed, getting ready, going to sleep)
    • When waiting in line (because I’m impatient and waiting for anything is painful, so why not distract myself or multi-task)
  2. Eliminate the triggers
    • Getting mobile notifications whenever there is a sale? An email from every online retailer on the planet? Stop it. You’re in control, you know.
    • If it’s not shopping for you, think about what pulls you back in. And then figure out how to stop it or recognize when it’s happening.
  3. Create a new habit to replace it
    • Listen to a podcast — I’m working on a new post to share the podcasts I’ve discovered. I’ve started listening to them in the car, before bed, or whenever I’m too tired to read a book.
    • Read a thought-provoking or inspiring book — I joined the book club at work. We vote on a book each month, someone sets a deadline to finish it, and we participate in a discussion that allows us to see other perspectives and interpretations. Luckily, we’ve chosen some very thought-provoking and classical books (no beach reads).
    • Listen to music — I’ve never been into music, but finally using my Spotify subscription to uncover new artists and new genres. I can choose a playlist according to my mood, or based on how I want to feel: relaxed, energized, confident, playful, powerful.
    • Writing or something creative — I feel much more connected to myself when I write about what’s on my mind, my feelings, my hopes and dreams. I’m more focused on my goals when I write them down. Creativity and creation has a powerful effect, whether it’s painting, cooking, photography, gardening, anything that can be formed or created.
    • Focusing outward — Selfishly wasting my own time is also selfishly focusing on myself instead of others. I could be using that time to connect with friends, show random acts of kindness, or just listen.

Final word: This does not mean I will never indulge in a little online shopping – when I have something to buy. Intentionally and purposefully.

by //

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