I was back and forth deciding between 2 pairs of boots and was about to click “buy” on a new pair of riding boots that I convinced myself was an investment when my phone dinged and my friend Taryn texted me- birthday dinner Friday night in NYC, can you make it?
Within 10 minutes I had a train ticket booked and was coordinating the logistic of the weekend trip. I was SO EXCITED!
The train ticket was basically the same price as the new boots ($20 more), but I didn’t even hesitate- I knew the experience was going to be worth SO much more than that pair of boots. In fact, I was smiling and was anticipating all the fun so much so that the rest of the day and work flew by, I was literally high on excitement.
Flashback 5 years ago though and it was a totally different story – I wasted most of my resources on THINGS and not EXPERIENCES.
I remember working at my Big 4 Accounting Firm and would take my lunch break to leave and go to the Nordstrom Rack around the corner from the office. It was an excuse to leave, and technically a non-food way of numbing myself and created a mini-escape from the stress and constant requirements at work. Of course, once I got there, I would ALWAYS find something that I convinced myself I “needed” – a new umbrella, another office appropriate outfit, a new pair of wedges for work, a jacket (I had a mild obsession with owning a jacket for every occasion), a candle, etc.
For the 20 minutes that I was in the store, I felt mildly better than I had in front of my computer screen BUT in reality this was a colossal waste of my resources (both time and money). Of course I never felt like I had enough time to work out, or money to go on the vacations I wanted…YET, I was wasting the very resources I saw as scarce…WTH!
Well, all this quick shopping trip did was provide a temporary distraction from how overwhelmed I was at work. That 20 minutes and hundreds of dollars spent in the Nordstrom Rack on mediocre items could have been spent on something that actually, genuinely brought me joy. And the time spent could have been put toward meaningful stress relief that would last beyond 20 minutes.
There’s a lesson here that I learned (and still work on): don’t waste your resources!
You have a limited amount of time, energy and money – the biggest things women tell me they don’t have enough of! And while money and energy can be replenished, time can not- when it’s gone, it’s gone! So if you’re someone who buys THINGS that you don’t really love, that don’t really fit, that you don’t really need and that don’t take you closer to where you want to be in your life, health, or weight as a way of coping with work- STOP! It’s time to rethink how you spend your resources.
Research from the Cornell University Psychology Department came to the conclusion that happiness is derived from experiences, not things. In reality, we remember experiences long after they end, while we soon become used to our possessions. In fact, just planning an experience is more pleasurable than waiting for a material possession. The mere anticipation of an upcoming experience can have an immediate and lasting effect on your mood and emotions (which we all know determines our decisions, and our behaviors…which are strongly tied to our weight!).
Here’s what you can do instead: spend resources on an experience that truly makes an impact for you. If you’re stressed, a lunchtime trip to Nordstrom Rack won’t do a thing, BUT a booking a massage or acupuncture or coffee with a girlfriend WILL! The anticipation of looking forward to that experience will also make things easier in the present (per research from Cornell).
So for me? I don’t regret passing on those riding boots, in fact I haven’t looked at them again. Instead, I’m reliving the laughs, new sights, and memories from my weekend trip to New York. A lesson well learned 🙂
Where are you wasting your precious resources? Join us in the Professional Women Get REAL Facebook group and learn where you can rethink your resources when it comes to work, weight and wellness. See you there!