Depending on when you read this, we’re two or three days into the New Year and I assume you’ve already broken every resolution you made. Well, maybe not. This year actually starts on a three-day weekend and no one wants to waste one of those on things you don’t want to do.
So, maybe we’ll make it four or five days into the new year before we look down and notice we’ve got a bag of chips in our laps, a Snickers clutched in one hand and a soft drink in other and shrug, figuring we knew it wouldn’t work anyway.
And why doesn’t it work? We all hate the way we look, the money we make, the things we do. The top two resolutions for this year, and they’re the same every year, are to lose weight and manage our money better.
We have good excuses. “Oh, I could starve myself for a month and I’d still gain 10 pounds!” And, “Manage my money? How can you manage what you don’t have?”
These can be legitimate excuses. It is hard to lose weight and becomes almost impossible the older you get. And lots of people live paycheck to paycheck, though we always seem to have money for the unnecessary things we really want.
A study at the University of Michigan claimed people simply look at time wrong when it comes to fulfilling goals. If you give yourself two years to accomplish something you won’t really hunker down on it until there’s so little time left there’s no way for you to succeed.
Yet, this study found, if you think of two years as 730 days, you’ll get to work quicker and have a much better chance of succeeding. Maybe if you’re wired that way, but 730 days still seems like a long time to me.
The study said most people think of the future as a time far off in the distance and it always seems to get further and further away. Wrong way to look at it. Technically speaking, the future is any moment that has yet to happen. In other words the future is just as much tomorrow as it is 20 years down the line.
Saving money is a good way to think of the future. I know. “Can’t save what isn’t there.” But it doesn’t take much to start adding up if you’re willing to show just a little patience. You might want something that costs $300 and you’re lucky if you have two nickels to rub together. But you’ve got a credit card and there’s no waiting with it…
But say you start putting back $20 a week. In less than four months you’ll have the money and no debt to worry about. And before you start yelling four months is forever, four months ago it was still summer and it didn’t get dark until 8:30. Four months from now we’ll be full into spring and daylight until 9.
“But I want it NOW!”
I hear ya. Delayed gratification usually means no gratification. But in four months time something better might come along for $300 or you might decide you don’t want it any longer and, hey, you’ve got $300 extra dollars.
Fine, but how does this help me lose weight? Well, learning discipline in any endeavor helps out in all others. If you can master putting aside $20 a week when there’s much stuff to buy then you can learn that three meals a day is more than enough and you don’t need to sit in front of the TV eating nonstop for three hours every night.
And if you figure out how to do that please let me know as it’s currently killing me.
If you’re going to do the New Year’s resolution thing, you can fit in with the old standbys of losing weight, eating better, trying to find a better job (if the one you have is just the worst), doing more for other people and just being a better person overall.
Then next year you can try to make it work.
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