Spending money at the cash registers

Photo by Marlith; Wikimedia Commons

One of the reasons why changing a behavior can be so difficult is that we may really value that behavior under a different name.

For example, I may consider myself to have a problem with overspending, and I may pledge to modify this habit once and for all.

However, maybe somewhere deep inside my brain, I equate overspending with status, free-spiritedness, freedom, or autonomy, and these are values that mean a lot to me.

To change my overspending, then, I may need to refine my understanding of my behavior. I may ask myself:

  • What does overspending mean to me?
  • What aspects of overspending am I proud of and want to keep?
  • Is there a different way for me to achieve these gains in my life without hurting myself financially? (For example, if overspending gives me a sense of autonomy, are there other ways for me to achieve autonomy that won’t hurt my wallet?)
  • What elements of overspending do I want to get rid of because they hurt me too much?

These questions should get you started in designing a goal that is truly desirable to you, without the risk of losing something else that you value.

What else does overspending represent to people in this day and age?