Earlier this year, I wanted to start working out more. A friend suggested I buy a bunch of workout gear to motivate myself. I knew better, but I tried it anyway. Of course, I failed. Mindfulness site Break the Twitch has a name for this: A false first step. Photo by heart-lines.
In a nutshell, here's how writer Anthony Ongaro explains this concept:
This is the false first step: believing we've made a meaningful step toward a goal when all we've actually done is spent money or not done the thing we actually need to do. We've actually lost something (money and time) rather than attained something (meaningful progress).
I've done this with workout gear, camera equipment, healthy food and all sorts of other hobbies, interests and goals. Ongaro runs down a few of his own examples in detail. Chances are, you can think of your own examples, too.
It's one thing to buy something to facilitate a goal you're already working toward or a hobby you're already interested in, but we often buy stuff to initiate that goal or hobby. And most of the time, that backfires. Instead of producing something, we consume and turn the goal into a novelty.
Of course, everyone is different and this may not be the case for you. Buying the right gear might actually work for you. For most of us, though, I think the false first step rings true. If you can relate, head to Ongaro's full post at the link below. He goes into much more detail and it's definitely worth the read.