Woo hoo! I’m finally done with my 14-day savings trial. If you’ve read that article, then you know the purpose was to limit my spending as much as possible (as in, no spending except on absolutely necessary items). And while I’ve done just that, what surprised me was how easy it was to limit that spending. I didn’t expect it to take a Herculean effort or anything, but I didn’t expect it to be so easy either. Sure, the first few days were a little rough, but my body and mind quickly adjusted, and I’m stronger and healthier for it.
Coincidentally enough, after I started the trial, I came across a fascinating article with an even more fascinating title, ”What is Hedonic Adaptation and How Can it Turn You Into a Sukka?”
After discovering this article, I realized why it was so easy to be just as happy as I was before even while severely limiting my “fun” activities.
What is Hedonic Adaptation?
I won’t go into a lot of detail because the article I linked to does that anyway, but I’ll give you a quick summary. Although many agree that money can’t buy happiness, few people understand exactly why. That’s what hedonic adaptation is all about.
Let’s say you suddenly when the lottery. Chances are, your happiness levels are going to skyrocket. They’ll increase even more as you buy your first McMansion and settle into a nice Mercedes or other luxury car of choice. But what happens a month later? And a year later? As it turns out, you will be the same exact person you were before, with all your problems, solutions, worries, and joys – just in fancier surroundings.
Money doesn’t buy us happiness because we quickly become accustomed to our surroundings, no matter what they are. We take them for granted. For a while there I was used to wasting lots of money on fast food and some unnecessary purchases. Then, a few days into the trial, I found that I adapted. I created different ways of having fun that didn’t cost any money. I was soon just as happy or even happier than my former self, plus I was able to save lots of money.
If you really understand this principle then you have gained some powerful insight into what does and does not create human happiness.
Improve Your Life
There are lots of ways to add this concept into your life. Chances are that you enjoy a lot of things you don’t really need. If the cost of keeping those things could better be spent elsewhere, like if you have debt or want to be financially free, consider cutting those expenses and letting yourself adapt to a new lifestyle.
It helps if you do this by committing to a 14 day trial, or better yet a month-long trial. This will ensure that you don’t wuss out during the initial adjustment phase, which can be rough depending on what you’re cutting out. If you make it the entire length of your trial without cheating even once, you’ll soon realize that you didn’t need any of that junk after all. Your wallet and your health will think you.
As a side note, you may have noticed that I haven’t written a post in a pretty long time (2 weeks). The reason for that is I started feeling like I was obligated to post regularly to keep traffic levels up. I started feeling like a sort of slave to the blog, where my emotional ups and downs would mirror the wildly fluctuating, often unreliable traffic graph in my WordPress stats. If I wanted to keep doing a “good job” I had to keep writing content, even when I had nothing to say.
If you’re a blogger, I’m sure you can relate to this. One of the most difficult things to do as a blogger is to keep coming up with fresh content. While I could definitely write tons of quality articles if I really forced myself, in truth, a lot of times there isn’t any need for that. While I’m sure my traffic will somewhat suffer as a result, I’ve already written about most of the things that are really important on here here.
When I come up with something new and fresh I’ll definitely let you know (I’m fascinated with self-sufficiency skills like carpentry and sewing currently), but in the meantime, you already know what to do – chill out, meditate every once in a while, and enjoy yourselves. That’s what I’ll be doing too.
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