Are you content and happy with what you have right now? Or do you find yourself wishing and always wanting more? Would you want to learn how to stop wanting things you probably don’t need anyway?
If you answered yes to the last two questions, keep reading. We are going to discuss the causes of why you are always wanting more and give tips for how to stop wanting more!
Is wanting more bad?
Before we dive into how to stop wanting things, let's talk about if wanting more is wrong. The straight answer is no, wanting more for yourself and your family is not bad. The reason why you’re here learning how to invest, budget, or pay off your debts, is because you want more out of this life.
You probably want to pay off your debts so you can take time off and spend more time with your kids. You’re probably working on your budget so you can save up for a vacation with your parents. All of which are admirable goals.
Wanting more becomes a problem when we use it to measure happiness, success, and all the things we want in life. As Maslow’s hierarchy of needs showed us, people need to feel safe, belong, cared for, loved, and admired.
But wanting and acquiring stuff works against us when we use them to feel fulfilled in ways they can’t provide. According to a survey, we only use 20% of the things we keep.
So, we buy the designer purse to feel happy for a while, until it sits there forgotten. Because stuff can’t provide the feeling of safety, love, and belonging, we need as humans.
Why are you always wanting more?
This is such an interesting question, isn’t it? So, here are a few reasons we are always wanting more things we don’t need. Maybe one or two will resonate with you.
1. To fill a void
Sometimes, we use material things to make ourselves feel better when we’re lonely, grieving, or heartbroken. This is why at times when what we need is human connection, we go out and buy a new dress instead.
Also, we’re always wanting more because we use stuff to feel confident and admired. So, we try to impress other people with what we own rather than who we are.
Back in 2007, the market research firm Yankelovich estimated that the average person saw up to 5,000 ads per day, which at the time was considered outrageous. But in this digital world we live in, it’s now estimated that the average person sees around 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.
Even if we take the low number, that’s still a lot of subtle messages telling us that we’re not attractive, happy, and fulfilled without the things they’re trying to sell. This also shows that it’s not entirely your fault that you’re always wanting more stuff.
So, when you get the urge to buy things you don’t need, don’t judge yourself. But be curious and try to figure out where you’ve got the idea. Most of the time, it’s probably from an ad or a story from your favorite celebrity or influencer.
3. Social media
I love the power of social media. It’s a great way to connect with our family and friends. But as we scroll through Facebook and Instagram, we notice what other people are buying or wearing. We see where they’re going.
Then, we get caught up in the comparison game or FOMO (fear of missing out). And that’s when we start wanting and buying stuff just because our family or friends have them.
How to stop always wanting more
Here are a few practices that you can do to be happy with what you have and how to stop wanting more.
1. Practice gratitude for the little things
When we’re caught in the feeling of there's not enough, it can be difficult to be grateful. This is also true when you’re in debt or feeling restricted by your budget. During these times, I encourage you to go back to the basics.
Be grateful for waking up – for the ability to breathe. Have gratitude for the roof over your head and the running water that allows you to have hot showers.
See, when we’re stuck in always wanting more, our gratitude becomes very circumstantial. We think we need a reason to be grateful, we forget that we already have everything we need and more. Practicing gratitude for what you already have is how to stop wanting more things you don't really need!
2. Focus on yourself
Society thrives from our differences as humans. But because we’ve made up stories in our heads about what a successful, happy, fulfilled person looks like. We try so hard to become that person by buying the clothes, the house, and the car we think aligns with that image.
But if your definition of a successful person is someone who lives on a farm and reads all day, then you’re going to be unhappy no matter how big your house and expensive your clothes are.
So, take time to get to know yourself. Focus on giving yourself the experiences that make you happy instead of buying things. Instead of online shopping, maybe you can call a friend or a family member and have a giggle on the phone.
3. Live with intention
We all want to live with intention and on our terms – to find our purpose and contribute something worthwhile to the world. But, unfortunately, a lot of us are stuck on autopilot.
We want something else, but we keep going through the days without changing anything. Raise your hand if this is you. You’ve had the same new year’s resolution for more than two, three, five years now?
It’s funny, and I’m guilty of the same thing. But really, nothing’s going to change until we set an intention to do it and follow through with it. So, maybe this year, you can commit to creating a budget or taking some of Clever Girl Finance courses! (They are completely free!)
4. Remind yourself of what matters most
Take some time to define what’s important to you. Figure out if these things you want even align with your passions or what you truly desire in your life. This is how to stop wanting more of what others have and determine what you want for yourself. Try to answer these questions:
- What do you want in life? How do you want to change your life for the better?
- What are your goals? How can you achieve them?
- What are your priorities? What makes you feel alive?
Get specific on your answers. Then, use them to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish next time you’re struggling with wanting more. And cut anything that doesn’t serve your ultimate goal.
5. Take a social media detox
What is the easiest way how to stop wanting things? Take a social media detox! As we said above, social media is full of people you know and don't know showing off things they buy or expensive trips they are taking.
So, to stop the constant temptation of always wanting more, take some time away from social media and appreciate the wonderful things you already have!
Be thankful for what you have to stop always wanting more!
When you can separate material things from your need to be loved, be admired, and belong, you learn to stop always wanting more. And when you start spending mindfully, you also maximize your enjoyment because you get to have more and do more of what you love. So, you can get the latte after all, if that’s what you really want.
Learning how to stop wanting things just because other people have them will help you live your best and most authentic life!