What are Your Triggers?

A trigger is what sets off your habit. Having a coffee may be a trigger for having a donut or a cigarette. Hearing a certain song might be a trigger for calling a friend or pouring a good stiff drink or just breaking down and crying.

Usually, the triggers are subtle and our responses so automatic, we don't think about what causes us to do what we do. What are your triggers? What causes you to make purchases on an impulse?

It might take you a few days or even longer to figure out what causes you to pull out your credit card and buy.

Here is an exercise that may help you understand your self and your buying habits.

Take a look at your most recent expenditures and actually write down where you were when you bought these items and whether you had been thinking about buying these things for any length of time. Were these impulse buys?

You can dig a little more deeply into what makes you buy if you also check to see if this is the only such item you own. Is it part of a connected series of similar or related items that you bought, or is it a standalone purchase?

Most of us have preferences in the things that we like. For some people, it is purses and for others it is shoes. Some people like a certain type of tool and others are addicted to items of technology. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, notebooks, cables, and attachments abound.

Maybe you have 200 rings or 75 pairs of jeans.

On the off chance that you don't know where your weak spots are when it comes to shopping, all you have to do is take a look around your home. You will find that there is very likely to be a whole bunch of a certain type of item.

Yarn? Cake pans? Pens? Paper? Magazines? Fishing rods?

Dealing with your triggers is not something that can be done in a minute or two. It takes time but you are worth the time. Knowing your triggers to buy does not mean that you have to stop buying these treats for yourself. Itís just a good idea to understand yourself, to be mindful of what you do and why you do it.

Handbags are a good example. Maybe you look in a closet and you see two handbags and you think, ìwell that's only two handbags.î But then, you have a handbag that you're currently using. That makes three. So far this is practical. Here is the exercise:

Take the two handbags out of the closet and put them on your living room floor. Go through your home room by room, closet by closet, cupboard by cupboard, and find every purse or handbag or tote you own.

Put them in the pile on the living room floor. Pick each one up and take a look at it. What you might discover is that each and every single one of these items is useful to you. You might feel that you need a different purse or handbag or tote for each season, each type of weather, or each mood. You may want to coordinate certain handbags with certain outfits.

Based on this, you can safely assume that seeing a purse or a tote or handbag is a trigger for you to buy. This exercise is not to determine if this is a bad trigger or a good trigger. All you need to know at the moment is which things are automatic triggers for you to make a purchase.

What you do about the trigger is entirely up to you. If you can afford the keep buying handbags, go ahead. If you are drowning in credit card debt, you might want to think about making a change.

Something you can do immediately is to honor the handbags that are so important to you. Find a way to keep them all in one spot. You may have to dedicate an entire closet to your handbag collection. You might be able to arrange them so that they can all be seen at once.

Seeing all your favorite items in one place can be a satisfying sensation. If you overspent, donít feel guilty about it when you see how many things you have. Later on, you might want to consider what might be underlying your compulsion to have so many things.

Knowing your triggers is one way to have greater insight into yourself.

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