Years ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project and I will never forget the chapter on buying some happiness. It was a revelation to hear her offer permission to indulge in modest splurges to create more happiness.
I typically subscribe to a “less is more” philosophy, so I paid extra attention reading this chapter. I wanted to see what indulging like this meant.
Since Gretchen is a writer, one of her examples was to buy a good pen. Instead of using just any old pen, spend a little money and purchase one that makes the work of writing more pleasurable. This was something I could relate to. I journal daily and at that time I had been using pens that I had collected over the years from businesses or events. If I was really in need, I would buy a bag of cheap pens even though I knew I wouldn’t like how they felt when I used them.
But Gretchen’s simple examples of how small investments in things that bring happiness stuck with me and I began to recognize the areas and times when I was frustrated and “making due” rather than intentionally purchasing something that would solve the problem and bring more happiness without breaking the bank.
I decided to follow her example and stop taking free pens (whenever possible) and invest $3.50 in a pen that could be refilled and not just thrown away when the ink ran out. I made a trip to Sketchy Artist, a local shop, tried out the pens (an essential step!), found one that felt right, and since then every time I use the pen it reminds me of how I am taking care of myself.
If pens aren’t your thing and you couldn’t care less about how they feel or work, then maybe this example is more relatable to you.
This past spring I committed to writing more creatively each week, but soon realized that if I was going to make that goal into a reality then I was going to have to set myself up for success. I would need to “indulge in a modest splurge” to set up a writing station with everything needed to set the stage and ensure I could sit down and make writing actually happen.
I have two small tables in my house that are my work desks. The one in the basement is where I do my business work and the desk on the main level is for home management -paying bills, updating the calendar, and journaling. My work desk in the basement is already set up for ease. All I need to do is set my laptop down and I am good to go. But the table upstairs has been intentionally sparse since it is located in a corner of our living room.
I knew that I would need to add a few items to the desk to make sure I could sit for extended periods of time without hurting my neck & back as I hunched over, typing on my little laptop keyboard. And I have a few routines that I use as triggers when it is time to work. I turn on instrumental music & light a candle, and then my body and brain recognize that I have shifted gears – it becomes easier to get started.
These simple steps help to create intention around writing time, so I wanted to be sure I could replicate that feeling at the upstairs desk. I indulged in a modest splurge by purchased another keyboard and mouse, bought a new candle, and a metal shelf organizer that could hold my laptop.
“make executing the right things-the essential things-as easy and frictionless as possible.”Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism
These purchases were a little heftier than a $3 pen but I know they are worth it. They definitely decrease the barriers to sitting down and making creative writing happen and that is a big win in my book!
Do you need to invest in a modest splurge to increase your happiness or make an area of your life run with more ease?
Give yourself permission to make a small intentional purchase & notice how that your attitude or energy shifts once you start to use or enjoy that item.
In this season of buy, buy, buy, it is hard not to get caught up in bringing more into our homes just because it is available. When you take time before you shop to get clear on what you need, want, and why, then it is easier to resist the extras.
Just like building a muscle, this takes practice, but you can do it! One decision at a time.
Need support to set up a space for greater function and ease OR are you ready for a Virtual Clarity Session to talk through the decisions that you’d like permission to make? Contact me today!