I’m a person drawn to action and motion. I am not a naturally reflective person, and any patience I have has been hard won, not genetically given.
So for me to take time to pause has been a learned strategy. My tendency to propel myself into motion is one of my greatest strengths and gifts to the world – and it can also be the thing that trips me up.
Experience has taught me that pausing pays dividends. If I just can wait a moment, and then another – something will shift, a new insight will emerge, a more positive feeling state will arrive, and a better course of action will reveal itself.
I have used the power of pausing in many spheres of my life, not just in my shopping life. I keep returning to it because I have found enormous value in it, the outcomes are always better, whether that’s in relationship terms or emotional and financial terms.
I use the power pause a lot in shopping contexts – I’ll share with you what it is and how to use in next. In fact, I use it every single time I see something I (think I) want to buy.
The Power Pause
The Power Pause is this: when you see something you desire and might want to buy – don’t purchase it straight away.
Put it back where you found it for just now. Walk away for at least two hours, if not 2 days, before deciding and making the purchase.
If you like, you can write down a brief description of the item and where it was located (what store/section, etc).
If, a day or two later, you find that the desired item meets all the criteria for a working wardrobe purchase, and you still want it – then you should feel free to go back and purchase it.
You may, alternatively, find that you have forgotten all about it or your desire for it has simmered down to almost nothing.
Note here that the purpose of the power pause is for you to re-evaluate the item and have it find its proper place in your wardrobe and life – which might end up meaning that it HAS no place in your wardrobe or your life.
The purpose of the power pause is most definitely not to beat your desire for this item into a frenzy. There is a big difference between re-evaluating/letting something ‘sit’ and fanning the flames. If your emotions are what’s swaying you (“I have to have it!”), then leave the decision to buy for even longer. Why?
You don’t want to buy based on raw, fuelled emotion, that’s why. Purchases made that way are ones that feed your shopping-as-default-activity habit, that leave you feeling bad about what you bought. Those kinds of purchases add to the over-stocked yet grossly under-utilised wardrobe where you lament: “Look at all these clothes – how can I have nothing to wear!?”
If you have had (or are still having) an issue with shopping, you need to shift how you shop. You need to learn to shop consciously and break the hold that your unconscious shopping habits have over you. Perhaps find something else to do in this moment besides shopping (here’s 365 ideas to inspire your life, instead of shopping)
The Power Pause breaks the cycle of mindless shopping. It wakes us up to “trinket thinking” and gives us a chance to put shopping in its rightful place. It gives us a true choice in how we spend our precious time and considerable talents.