Six weeks into 2018 - How are you doing? Breathless yet? (I am, and I'm only 2 weeks into January!)
You've aligned your wants and your values. But there's a puzzle piece we're missing.
"What about needs, Jenn? When do I make time for those?"
I am so glad you asked.
It's undisputed fact that we all have certain hard-and-fast needs: shelter, food, water, clothing, love, attachment, a Lexus... Oh, wait.
Yeah. Sometimes, our wants seem like needs (I really don't want a Lexus by the way. I blame my muse - she might want one). So how do you filter out wants from needs?
Well, some things are obvious: Nutritious food is a need. Chocolate Oreo milkshakes are a want (yeah... I know. Hubby insists they're a need, too. - Sad fact: They are not.) Water is a need. Fancy, bottled water (that's just glorified tap water) that costs you $4 a bottle? Want (unless you're headed into a disaster zone where clean water isn't happening - and even then, do you really NEED a $4/pint bottle of water?) Yes. I know that I'm stepping on a few toes with this post. But the main idea is simple: Sort out what is a genuine need and what you truly want, and eliminate the distractions in your life.
Last week, we explored what you really want. Take another look at that list. Are there things on there that maybe you don't want so much this week? If so, they most likely aren't needs.
Here are a few more quick tips to sort out wants from needs:
- If you "need" it today (aside from life essentials like food, shelter, water, clothing), but you didn't "need" it a week ago, and a month from now you no longer "need" it, it's probably a want.
- If it does not significantly improve the quality of your life or the life of another. Just to rankle a few hides in the room... A car might improve the quality of your life, in that you no longer have to walk to the grocery store to get food, whether it's snowing outside or not, but you do not now, nor ever will, NEED a $100,000 car - You might need a car, but you do not need a fancy one. Unless of course, you are wheelchair bound and need adaptive equipment on your car (in which case, we should probably squeeze that over into the need category).
- You already have some variety of this item in your possession - You most likely do not NEED another. Even if it is faster, nicer, newer, or has more buttons and functions. If the old one still functions, the new one is most likely a want.
- You feel slightly guilty at the prospect of owning or having this thing. Now, I'm not talking Mommy Guilt for eating enough to feel full when you have growing children, but there isn't enough to go around. (I have enough Mommy cushion presently, that I can do without the extra half-serving - for now. But I do not advocate starving yourself so that you don't feel bad if Hubby is stuck with one serving of dinner.)
- It serves no functional purpose in your life. I will admit that at one point in my life, I owned no fewer than six (yes, 6) copies of the Christian Bible. Five of those were New International Version (one of the many translations of the same writing). I only read one at a time, and of the collection I had, I only used one volume. Even when I was in Bible College (waaaay back when), I could access the school's library for comparative versions if I needed them for a research paper. In another example, I had over 300 works of fiction. Of those, I really only read maybe 25, because I frequent the library shelves and find a ton of other stuff to read. No. Functional. Purpose. (sorry, bookworms! But the good news is, I used all those non-functioning possessions to open an online bookstore! Books! For Sale! You're welcome.)
By now, hopefully you are getting the idea, in terms of possessions. You can apply the same logic to how you spend your time. You need to make time to eat (you'll die if you don't), but taking the time to go out to a fancy restaurant is a want. Are ya with me?
Or are you sitting back in your chair, arms crossed defensively as you read this, thinking that I am advocating some kind of ascetic's life?
Let me clarify something: Just because it's a want, does not mean you cannot have it. It does not mean you should not do it. A want, is not a forbidden thing.
Let me say that again: A want is not a forbidden thing.
However, if you are looking to find peace in your life; if you are trying to declutter your home, your schedule, your body, your thoughts, your WHATEVER... You absolutely MUST be able to tell the difference between a want and a need.
Identify the differences between the two, and then you can make informed, conscious decisions about where to spend your money and time. I want a fabulous collection of jewelry, but I need to lose weight for my health.
Okay, your turn! Which items on your lists are wants, and which are needs? Drop down into the comments below to share! See you next week.
(psst... I have some really awesome news coming in next week's blog, and I can't wait to share it, and the special offer I have to go along with it!)