Try this for a decade or two:
Instead of wishing you had a nicer car and a bigger flat panel television, focus instead on creating some amazing experiences in your life.
This may or may not include traveling to unique locations. For example:
* Take a skydiving course instead of buying a nicer couch.
* Take a vacation in a foreign country instead of upgrading your car.
* Take a class and learn a new skill instead of buying an entertainment center.
* Make a habit of daily exercise instead of renewing your subscription to Netflix.
* Come up with a travel goal (I want to visit X some day….) rather than a purchase goal (I want to buy X some day….)
This shift in mentality may take some practice and getting used to. Some people feel comfortable rewarding themselves with stuff rather than experiences.
Is there a problem with buying stuff as a reward?
Frankly, yes. There is. It goes against many of our goals, and can incur additional costs that may not be obvious at first.
This does not mean that you can never buy new things. It just means that you should consciously realign your values. Do not place a high value on buying new stuff.
Instead, place a higher value on:
* New experiences
These things are more in alignment with our goals than buying junk. In many cases, this shift in focus can lead to positive effects in other areas of our lives. For example, if you learn a new skill then this may translate into a future income opportunity for you. You may develop a product or service one day based on your new knowledge. Having new learning experiences could lead to new business ideas.
The same is true of traveling. By visiting new places and meeting new people, you will inevitably gain fresh insight and find new opportunities that transfer into your business life.
This sort of insight and mental stimulation does not come from buying an new flat panel television.
Some may argue that seeking new experiences, learning and travel are just another false idol on the path to enlightenment. Fair enough, I won’t argue that. But I will say that it is a definite step up from living in the work-spend cycle, and rewarding yourself every once in a while by purchasing nicer junk. I am not sure what the ultimate destination is yet….I can only share where I am at on the journey. Rampant materialism aligns very poorly with our other goals, and needs to be reversed. The best way that I have found to do that is to replace the reward of “buying stuff” with the reward of “learning new things” or “experiencing new things.” This may not turn out to be the optimal solution but we are all still on a path of learning, no?