In a world where we can buy things with the press of a button, it can be quite difficult to reflect on something before we get it. There was a time when to buy something you had to wait for it to be available in a store near you, and then you had to wait in line to get it (especially if it was in high demand). Now you can pre-order your things, or even buy them online (reducing the need to wait for it to be available in your locality, or even country). This has led to more purchases being done in a shorter amount of time, almost to a point where we buy things and don’t really think about them.


An experiment was done recently encouraged participants to reflect on something they had bought. I encourage you to try out the following steps, which were similar to what the participants had done:


  • Step 1: Take a minute and think of a product that you purchased, currently own and have used recently.
  • Step 2: Describe this product in detail.
  • Step 3: Now describe how you used the product on the most recent occasion. Explain WHEN, WHERE, HOW, and HOW LONG you used this product. Please describe your experience with the product in as much detail as possible, and please spend at least two minutes on this task.


It was found that participants who did this exercise above, were less likely to then shop for something impulsively after. So if you feel that you might be impulsively buying, or buying things which you do not need, take some time to perform this exercise and see how that changes the way you shop!






Mel McElhatton holds a degree in Social Work from the University of Malta. With Willingness, Mel does life coaching and is one of the facilitators in the IRL – In Real Life team. They are also the producer of the radio show Niddiskutu s-Sess. They can be contacted on