This is tricky business.
To stop wanting something is to basically cut through that desire.
I don’t believe it when people say it’s just a matter of discipline.
Or mind over matter.
Raw emotion is difficult to control, but perhaps these methods might help.
Play it out
Let’s say you feel a strong desire for a new car.
At this point, I normally do all the motions of wanting the car.
I research it, I pick out the colour, I figure out the price, whether to lease or buy, the payments, increase in insurance and/or gas… everything.
At the end of that research, I compile all the information together and give it a hard stare.
More often than not, I realize that:
- what I already own is still good enough to drive
- I don’t use a car that often (I actually prefer public transit)
- I am not willing to pay the extra difference in cash
I find that going through the motions, playing out the desire until the end, helps lessen the need for it.
It may not work for everyone (you may feel even more tempted!) but it works for me, because I give myself a mental slap with the hard facts facing me.
I don’t just act on impulse and sign the papers for the car. I work the issue to death before making any decisions.
Find a substitute and be creative
If you already have a black sweater, do you need a black sweater with a chain on it?
Probably not. Not at all.
I try to make do with what I’ve got. At least, that’s the plan for 2010.
For example, you could just pin a necklace on your old cardigan.
Even for kids, this is useful.
My parents wouldn’t buy me a Barbie Dream house when I was a kid.
So while I pouted, I decided to just be creative, and I made a dollhouse out of an old bookcase, and crafted all of their furniture out of old pieces of taped cardboard together.
Turned out better than I had hoped.
Make it a goal
If all else fails, make it a goal.
I find that this is an effective delay tactic.
Say you have an important certification coming up.
IF you pass that exam, you decide you will buy that laptop.
(Er.. that is, assuming you can afford it without going into debt).
1. By the time you pass that certification, you may have already forgotten about that laptop.
Delaying it so long, by making it a goal instead of something arbitrary, made you forget about it.
2. Or decide you want to save the money (this is more often than not, what happens to me).
3. Even if you end up buying the laptop, it was a great motivator to pass that test.