Start practicing gratitude to resist temptation and be more content with what you have.
We live in a consumer-driven world.
All-day we’re bombarded with ads exposing us to all sorts of temptations.
Whether it’s that Olive Garden email that has you suddenly craving pasta or that Apple commercial that has you convinced you’ll be a better artist if you only had that new iPad Pro, we’re constantly exposed to things that make us think we’re missing out on something.
It’s no surprise that the amount of household debt keeps rising each year.
We’re being conditioned to react to our immediate desires regardless of the consequences.
It’s not about trying to keep up with the Jones’ anymore but trying to keep up in general.
So how do we avoid these temptations and the debt they inevitably lead to?
By practicing gratitude.
Gratitude Helps You Resist Temptation
Psychologically we tend to value immediate rewards more than future rewards.
But gratitude can turn this around.
A recent study showed that gratitude increased people’s patience and their ability to wait for greater rewards. The
I often crave the convenience of fast food, but once I realized the toll it was taking on my budget I started to cut back.
It’s not easy to resist that temptation, especially when you’re driving by it every day. But once I started thinking about the aspects of homemade meals that make me thankful, it’s been much easier.
Each time I drive by and feel the pang of desire, I remember how much fun it is to cook with Little GFB and how thankful I am that he has a desire to learn to cook and eat healthier.
And it’s working! While I definitely still feel the urge to swing through that drive-thru, I’m able to redirect my thoughts to things I’m grateful for and the temptation usually fades.
Gratitude Makes You More Content
We often seek instant gratification as a means to increase our happiness. We think if we could only have that thing that we want, we’ll be happy.
But the truth is, we’ll never be satisfied this way.
We all actually have a base level of happiness that we return to regardless of life’s ups and downs. (It’s called Hedonic Adaptation if you want to Google it.)
But gratitude helps us avoid the trap of trying to buy happiness by making us content with what we have.
When you start budgeting, the first thing you probably feel is scarcity. It seems like there’s simply not enough money to pay for everything.
But when you start prioritizing and become super clear on what your goals are, you start to recognize the things you have to be grateful for.
Not only does gratitude make you more content, but it will also save you money!
This clarity of contentment helps you reduce your expenses and eliminate the things you don’t really value.
Make Gratitude a Habit
Practicing gratitude isn’t hard, but it does take effort to be consistent.
The more you do it, the more you’ll begin to notice how appreciating the things you have makes it easier to avoid feeling bummed about the things you don’t.
If you can establish a gratitude habit, you’ll be better able to avoid temptation and start saving more money.
There will always be things we want or need regardless of how grateful we are.
But looking at those desires from a perspective of appreciation will help you discern between wants and needs. Then you can make a plan to obtain them without sacrificing your budget.
If you’ve been struggling financially, try a daily gratitude practice to adjust your perspective and your spending.