What if we don’t really need it and the things we think we ‘need’ are just things we’ve got used to having for convenience? So really they’re just things we ‘want’ instead. How can we recondition our minds to tackle these things which are just inherent in the way we live everyday without giving them much thought? It’s a difficult area to unpick, and it can be particularly difficult to challenge in other people’s thinking, especially in a non-judgemental way.
So here are my top tips for challenging your own behaviour:
- Stop when you shop – take some time to think about what you are buying, take a moment to plan your purchases, whether that’s food shopping, clothing, gifts or cards, work out whether the items you’re picking up are more convenient, or packaged in a way that makes them a bit more appealing. Challenging this can help to reprogram your mind to ask yourself, do I really need this in the way it is presented? Could I get an unpackaged option? Supermarkets are especially adept at convincing us we ‘need’ stuff which we don’t really, it’s all in the marketing and/or product placement in store. Sometimes taking a list can help to keep us on track.
- Is the packaging necessary? – if not, go for an item without it, so much of our shopping can be done without much of the packaging that it comes in, if we change the way we shop, the shops will follow our lead. Whilst it might not seem much, if it’s single use packaging that serves no purpose we can save a lot of energy wastage as well as miles travelled and ultimately additional cost.
- How much has advertising made us want this item? – get honest with yourself, has good advertising/influencing convinced you it’s a ‘must have’? Do you get FOMO if everyone else has it? Take a moment to consider all of the options and work out if this is something that will really be of benefit to you. Is it something you’ll love in 6 months time?!
- Think about previous purchases – consider the items you have bought previously, have you bought things on impulse and regretted them, has there been additional packaging that you could do without trying to recycle or ultimately send to landfill?
Challenging the way we think about what we need can really help us in those moments where we can feel overwhelmed by all of the different choices. Keep it really simple and just ask yourself “Do I really ‘need’ it?” It’s okay to want things too, it’s just about making a habit of checking in with yourself to see if you’re thinking about all of the options.
Have you made a change in the way you shop? We’d love to hear from you. What changes have you made and have you asked yourself ‘what if we don’t really need it’ before?