Human beings are masters at rationalizing behavior. We rationalize our decisions by telling ourselves “I deserve it” or “I don’t have any other choice.”
When we splurge or give in to our wants, what’s the good of rationalizing it? Are we truly exonerated when we tell ourselves that we “deserved” it instead of just admitting to ourselves that we “wanted” it?
Try this exercise:
The next time you’re tempted to indulge or splurge on an unplanned or unbudgeted expense, don’t go with rationalizations. Change the internal dialog away from excuses. Own your desire.
Instead of thinking about how tired you are and how you really need a coffee to get through the day or how that dress on the sale rack is perfect because you don’t have anything yet that shade of blue or how that latest gadget would make your life so much easier than your current gadget does — instead of rationalizing say to yourself, I really want a cup of coffee or this dress or that gadget.
So what? What’s the difference between buying a dress I deserve because I work hard and buying a dress because I want it?
The difference is huge. Even Mick knew “you don’t always get what you want.”
When I say I want that new fancy doohickey, I’m taking personal responsibility. I’m the one accountable. If I rationalize and tell myself that my current doohickey is getting old and slow and I’ll have to replace it someday anyway, I’m avoiding responsibility. If I want it, then it’s my choice. If it’s my choice, I’m responsible for the decision.
So, the next time you’re tempted to indulge, acknowledge that you’re indulging. Make your indulgences conscious, willing choices. Own your behavior. With owning comes empowerment. With empowerment comes joy.