The ‘I Deserve It’ Loophole + The Trick I Use To Beat It

Do you tell yourself "I deserve it" too much? If the usual budgeting tips or diet tips aren't helping, this might be why. Click through for money advice and goal-setting advice you haven't heard before! #goalsetting #habits #budgettips

Picture this: It’s 8 pm on a rainy Friday night and you’re just now leaving work. The week has been a mess of unexpected expenses, grumpy coworkers, boring obligations, and yesterday the cat puked on your white sofa.

Your mind is fried and your spirit is crumpled.

Clearly, the answer is Target.

Two throw pillows, three t-shirts, some face masks, and two art prints? You deserve them.

When you get home? Delivery pizza, a full bottle of red, and three hours of Netflix. “I deeeeseeeerve this!!!!”

Then an hour of Instagram scrolling, because “I deserve it” is the battle cry of the day/week/month/year.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Maybe you swing by Home Goods instead of Target and watch Hulu instead of Netflix. (I like watching late 90s/early 00s teen rom coms and eating noodles with butter + that terrible powdered Parmesan).

We all recognize this scenario because EVERY BLESSED HUMAN engages in some version of this. When we have a bad day – or a good day! – we throw our heads back and howl “I deserve it!” while running full speed towards things that often make our lives worse. The truth is, many of our “I deserve this” choices move us further from the things we say we want. Click To Tweet
If we have credit card debt, ‘treating’ ourselves with a shopping spree is actually a pretty unkind thing to do. If our bodies don’t like dairy or gluten, ‘rewarding’ ourselves with pizza is a peculiar kind of (delicious) torture. 

Imagine if your best friend turned to you over dinner and calmly said “Ya know what? I deserve to be saddled with thousands of dollars of credit card debt for the rest of my life.”

What if she said “I’ve been thinking about it and I really believe that I deserve to sleep poorly every night. And I deserve all the health issues that come with a long-term sleep deficit.”

Or “I’ve worked hard. I deserve low-grade stomach aches several times a week. Yup!”

We’d never let our friends treat themselves this way. We’d stop them mid-sentence and talk some sense into them. But many of us treat ourselves to these self-sabotaging ‘rewards’ on a daily basis. 

So how do we stop these self-defeating, self-sabotaging ‘rewards’?

How to avoid the ‘I deserve it’ loophole

When you find yourself saying “I deserve it” + treating yourself, be really honest about the effects of these things you “deserve.” Do you DESERVE more credit card debt? An upset stomach? To sleep poorly? Click To Tweet

Take a moment to look a few hours or days down the line. How will this thing you ‘deserve’ impact your life?

If your reward looks like debt, poor health, low-quality sleep, unhealthy relationships, or wasted time? YOU DO NOT DESERVE THAT. No one does.

Instead, think about what you truly deserve and how you can treat yourself in a way that helps you get that.

Do you deserve rejuvenation and relaxation after a busy week? Maybe the answer is a walk next to a body of water, re-reading a favorite novel, and going to bed early after one hour of Netflix (not three).

Do you deserve to feel pampered because you spent all week dealing with other people’s needs? Maybe you could treat yourself with a long sauna at the gym, spend 30 extra seconds making your meal look nice (you’d be amazed what a drizzle of olive oil can do!) and buy one new scented candle.

We all deserve to feel good, supported, and cared for. We all deserve the occasional treat or reward for a long week or a job well done. Let’s make sure our rewards get us closer to what we want, rather than further away. 

P.S. If you want help ending this sort of self-sabotaging behavior, grab your spot in The Get What You Want Workshop! You guys told me you were sick of six-courses you couldn’t finish so we’re trying two hours instead! Click here to buy your ticket for July 29th + download your workbook!

Web Time Wasters

How was you week, friends? We hosted old friends, worked through our ‘last summer in South Minneapolis to-do list,’ and I was on Twin Cities Live talking about how OMG YOU DON’T NEED TO BUY A NEW OUTFIT FOR EVERY WEDDING YOU ATTEND.

Under the heading of ‘Saving Money’:  If you’re an Amazon Prime member, ‘Prime Days‘ officially starts on Monday and there are already some deals up.

I know maaaaany of us have complicated feelings about Amazon and how Jeff Bezos runs his company.

When it comes to stuff like this, I think it’s worth remembering that choosing exclusively shop at locally-owned businesses, only buy ethically-produced clothing, only buy organic produce or never, ever shop at big box retailers is something of a privilege.

Not everyone can afford $200 organic linen pants. Not everyone has the time/energy to sift through the racks at thrift stores to buy things second hand. Sometimes you have to choose between driving 45 minutes to buy your vegan protein powder at a locally owned health food store … or just buying it on Amazon and saving time, money, and gasoline.

Obviously, we should all do our best to make our spending align with our values. 95% of the things I own are second hand! I eat 99% meat-free! But it’s okay if sometimes aligning your spending and values means having more time to spend with your friends and family by ordering something online from a big ol’ company.

P.S. Here’s a list of 23 life-improving things I sweaaaaar by that you can (mostly) buy on Amazon.

P.P.S. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, make sure you’re making use of all the benefits!

Other links for you:

Daaaaang but this is a bathroom makeover! (Stealing the idea for how they painted that vanity!)

I really appreciated Alison’s break down on how bloggers make money – and how we’re knee-capping our favorite bloggers when we refuse to click ‘like’ on an Instagram post that happens to include sponsored content.

Somewhat related: Simple tips for success

This Might Take Awhile.
Let’s talk about all the ways you’ve tried to paper over or speed up life’s hard parts, when the goodness is often stuck somewhere in the mess like a Double Dare flag buried in whipped cream and slime.

The Case For Curiosity (And 20 Ways To Build It Into Your Life)  

Related! Why You Need A ‘New Things’ Practice + How To Create One

Discuss! Politicians promote the idea that hard work can carry you anywhere. But the American dream is just that — a figment of our collective imagination.
A 2017 study tracking U.S. immigrants and their children over recent decades found that these kids do tend to rise up the social ranks, but mainly until they match the social status their parents once held in their former country. So what looks like upward mobility — child of immigrant parents climbs comfortably into the American middle class — is really what the authors describe as a “reproduction of their parents’ pre-migration status.”

Somewhat related: A World Cup Champion Also Struggles to Afford Childcare
Of my career in the NWSL, I’ve only played one season where I wasn’t a mom. Trying to figure out a routine is probably the hardest thing, and because I got traded a lot, I had to find new babysitters and child care all the time. Child care in particular was very difficult, because it’s expensive and we don’t get paid much. If I put [my son] in a daycare, that’s my entire paycheck, you know?

Winona Ryder is the friend we all need.

I have nothing but respect for this woman’s hustle and giant joke/performance art/scam.

When I get troll-y DMs and emails, my response is very, very similar to this.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Web Time Wasters

What’d you do for the 4th, friends? I was back in my hometown, swimming in lakes, eating sweetcorn, and catching up with friends from high school. I hope your time off was equally refreshing!

Links for you

If you have conflicted feelings about celebrating the U.S. right now, this quote might help.

This time of year can be a minefield for your money and happiness – attending high school reunions, family reunions, seeing everyone’s vacation photos on Instagram, spending $$$$ to attend weddings. I made a video about ways to deal with all this, things to say to people + things to say to yourself. You can watch it here.

I chatted with Tami Hackbarth this week about self-care and how money + habits contribute to it! Click here to listen.

FASCINATING! Can you forget things on purpose?
What we found was that when people engaged more with the information they were trying to forget, they were, in certain conditions, more successful at forgetting it. If they engaged with the memory too much, they strengthened it; if they completely disengaged the memory, it wasn’t modified at all; but if they engaged just a little bit, or a moderate amount, then the memory was more susceptible to forgetting, a finding we validated by testing them behaviorally later on.

We had a good discussion about this article in our Money & Happy Facebook group: ‘Class-passing’: how do you learn the rules of being rich?

I loved this house tour and its mix of new and old.

Wearing this every day this summer.

This made me smile.

Co-signed: The secret to getting ahead is doing the work other people don’t want to do.

I loved this interview with Alanis Morissette and I’d probably react the same way the writer did.
I knew that there was no chance of me being an objective journalist in our time together. I knew that I would have protected her with my body if the aforementioned man had pushed his way into the room. I knew I would tell her I too had left Canada at the age of 19, that Jagged Little Pill was my first cassette tape, and that I had three children, while she sat there beatifically gestating her own third. The question was: Would this word-vomit emerge from me the minute she sat down, or would it ooze out at odd moments? (The first, mainly.)

Ahhhh! I love this DIY!

Yessss. A good reminder if ‘swimsuit season’ has you up in your head, obsessing about your body or weight.

Hope you had a lovely week, friends!

Web Time Wasters

Alanna Royale – I Know (Music Video) from Solar Cabin on Vimeo.

How was your week, friends? I had a super busy week of mutually beneficial brain picking, walking around lakes, and joyfully fussing with the yard. This weekend we hosted a family barbecue, helped a friend celebrate her graduation, and protested the separation of immigrant families.

Links for you!

The fastest way to help immigrants separated from their children

How do you regain your confidence after a stumble?

Kenny bike commutes to work every day so I loved this cycling safety hack involved a … pool noodle? (Thus far, I have not convinced him to do this.)

What if you disconnected exercise from eating? Like, exercise wasn’t ‘punishment’ for eating something ‘bad’?

Who doesn’t love a good listicle? Parenting hacks that I’ve truly never heard before.

One of the habits I picked up from years of traveling international on my own is to a) stay out of arm’s reach of any man I walk past
b) cover my chest with the arm that’s nearest them. Depressing, right? Thus, I enjoyed this article: How to play Patriarchy Chicken: why I refuse to move out of the way for men
If you don’t move out of the way for men, your commute changes. For one thing – I’m not going to lie about this – you do collide with a lot of men. This is where the name of the game comes from. You need to really commit to Patriarchy Chicken: don’t let your social instinct to step to the side kick in. Men are going to walk into you: that isn’t your fault.

Somewhat related: Cardinal rules for safe, solo lady travel.

Some thoughts on minimum wage, the businesses that pay minimum wage, and who’s ‘supposed to’ be working those jobs.

YESSSSS. What’s the difference between ‘having boundaries’ and ‘refusing to interact with anyone who doesn’t do everything exactly the way you want‘?

When it comes to sustainability, it can feel like the ‘best’ thing to do is replace all the things we currently own with bamboo this, stainless steel that, organic cotton everything. A good reminder.

And if you think sustainable stuff is too expensive, remember that buying second hand is always better than buying pretty much ANYTHING new. Even those cute organic linen pants! If you’re overwhelmed by thrifting, I share all my best tips here.

One of things I teach in Make It Stick Habit School is the importance of building new neural pathways. If you’re like “Huh?” this article is a good place to start: What It Takes To Change Your Brain’s Patterns After Age 25
If you want to keep your brain agile, you’re going to have to hone in on parts of the brain that you use less frequently, says Swart. And this new task has to be so challenging that you’ll feel mentally and physically exhausted after practicing the task because you’re forcing your brain to work in ways it’s unaccustomed to. This is the only way you’ll actually grow new neurons strong enough to connect with existing neurons, forming new pathways.

Eggplant “bacon”?


Also, a periodic reminder that if you appreciate my taste in links, you might want to follow me on Pinterest! I pin all sort of good stuff over there!

Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? I’m writing this from Granger, Indiana from this amazing, historic Airbnb. I’m speaking about money, happiness, and habits at Nicole’s Real Talk Retreat and it is lovely. If you have a conference, workshop, lunch-n-learn that needs a speaker, get in my inbox! I love IRL teaching.

Links for you!

12 things you might not know about Juneteenth

Amazing dance moves!

Super smart travel tips
“I rip out all the articles I meant to read from old issues of The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, etc. and pack them instead of bringing the WHOLE magazine, which gets heavy.”

Also: I’ll never, ever stop talking about why you need these for travel.

Yes! Behavior Shopping: This Is Why You Might Be Spending More

Verified info on how to help kids at the border directly from a lawyer who visited a station in Clint, TX

FASCINATING. The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980s’ Most Decadent College

Of course I loved this. Ten Things I Learned From Loving “Anne of Green Gables”
Anne, however, has no Dumbledore or Aslan to initiate her into a larger understanding. Instead, Anne herself is the portal — the tornado, the wardrobe — who helps the characters around her understand that the “mundane” world, itself, was always already full of deep magic.

How do the 21 Democrat candidates for president differ? The NY Times asked them the same 18 questions; here are their answers.

I loved Alison’s post about health vs. aging and what’s possible.

I loooove stories like this. A Craigslist buyer complimented a woman’s home decor and it lead her to change her career! (And her home is gorgeous.)

Ooooof. If you’ve ever struggled with healthcare costs this podcast episode is for you: We Thought We’d Adulted Properly.

Such a sweet ode to an amazing teacher.

I’m exteremly co-signed on this approach to happiness + feeling good.

Hope you had an awesome week!

Web Time Wasters

In case you haven’t seen it yet …

How was your week, friends? On Wednesday, I got back from a week-long road trip with my mom, so I spent the rest of the week doing laundry, digging myself out of an email hole, you know. The usual post-trip stuff. This weekend we celebrated a friend’s birthday with a private hot yoga session for all our friends! Awesome + sweaty.

Links for you!

First and foremost: What’s going on in Sudan and what the US is doing about it — explained

And 7 things you can do to help Sudan

On my way through Des Moines, I stayed at one of the best-run Airbnbs I’ve ever been to. The guest house had extra razors, tampons, and phone chargers! Also: it was $70 and there was an amazing covered patio with cafe lights. On Instagram Stories, a bunch of people asked for a link to the listing, so I’m sharing it here, too. And if you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!


A hilarious response if anyone asks why you’re “still single.”

Somewhat related: I love the interview series Single Women And Their Spaces. This tour of Chelsea’s rented apartment in Portugal is great.

I thought this was lovely and important: How to navigate a special needs encounter with kids.
The emotions that a child feels when seeing another child with special needs can range from curious, to nervous, to just plain confused. Let your child know that questions are okay. For example, if your child points at my daughter and says, “What happened to her arm?!” my suggestion would be to get down on your child’s level and explain that some people are born differently than other people. I then often refer to other differences, like hair color, skin color, glasses, etc. 

An interview with Amy Sedaris that is, obviously, a delight.

I was on the How She Creates podcast this week talking about questioning, well, everything has lead me to a life that I really, really like. Listen here! And if you’ve got a podcast, I’d love to be on it! Drop me an email at and let’s get something scheduled!

Speaking of podcasts – I’m still plugging away, setting mine up and Paula has been super helpful. And she just launched a course about how to start your own!

A roundup of super helpful money resources!

Related: a great Twitter thread on free/cheap mood-improving things.

This just in: Dolly Parton sleeps in her makeup when she travels + brings her own snacks.
I used to take my family on trips and vacations. We would go all over the world. We’d stop in and have food, but we’d take a lot of our own food. You’d take your own good pillows and your little things, which I still do to this day. Even when I travel overseas, I take my pillows, I take a few snack foods and other things that you might not be able to get.

Hope you had a lovely week!