Hey gang! Sorry I’ve been out of contact for a while, I just got back from a trip to Italy where I got engaged!! =) Totally unrelated to the blog, but that’s why I’ve been MIA. It was an amazing, unforgettable trip. Now I’m back at the office and will also jump back into blog writing. I was going to post this earlier in the week but of course my wordpress and website decided to go totally wonky when I tried to do an update… and I ALMOST LOST MY WEBSITE. And then when it came back, it looked funky, but luckily the support team at Century Link fixed it for me. Hence the delay… I’m not very good with tech problems. But we’re back up and running! On to the post for this week…
Have you ever wondered why we need to make goals? And plan for things? Couldn’t we just do things day by day and take things as they come? Not really…
Why? Because people tend to make decisions for the short term. The things that have the most instantaneous benefit. The things that make us feel good in the moment. We don’t do so well planning for the long term, going through all of the boring and/or mundane steps it takes to make excellent long term decisions.
AN EXAMPLE? FINANCES
How much fun are spreadsheets and planning out finances and saving money? If you asked my fiancé, he would tell you that spreadsheets are loads of fun. But unless you are detail oriented, or an engineer, or an accountant, my guess is your interest in spreadsheets is as low as mine. I have to FORCE myself to do anything spreadsheet related, not my forte. So the idea of sitting down to do financial planning sounds so very un-fun. Shopping sounds way more exciting. Or going out to eat, or going to a play or spending a night out on the town. Or travelling!!
However, this is exactly what this blog post is about. Those are all short-term decisions. A BLAST while they’re happening, but they don’t really set you up for anything good in the future, do they? Instead of saving money, all those things are spending money. Money that could be used for investments. Investments that can make you money just by compound interest. Money that you don’t even have to work for. It just makes money for you. And the earlier you start, the better off you are! So it’s something you really should be interested in. When I went to Wealth Mastery last year, a Tony Robbins event, one of the things they told us is people think of money and being rich as kind of this sexy thing. It sounds glamorous right?
But the simple truth is saving money and making smart investments isn’t sexy, or exciting… it’s BORING!! However, as mundane as it may be, it is TOTALLY WORTH YOUR TIME. As are pretty much all long term decisions.
WHY SETTING GOALS IS IMPORTANT
This is why we need to set goals! Because if you don’t, you won’t have anything pushing you to make those long term decisions and you may find that you’re in a cycle of making short term decisions. You may be thinking, “Ok I’ll set some goals, and once I reach those, I won’t have to set goals anymore.” Not the case.
Goal setting and striving and working towards those goals will always be a part of your life (hopefully!). Once you reach a goal. How do you feel? Maybe ecstatic, maybe on top of the world. How long does that feeling last though? A few days, a week? A month? What happens next? You may be wondering “Is this all there is?” Or you may feel like you don’t have direction. Why? Because we always need to be working towards something. You may remember from a previous blog post of mine, PROGRESS = HAPPINESS. We have to be working towards something to be happy.
So once you reach a goal, make a new one!! Or make several! There’s no limit to how many you can have at a time. That will help to give you the drive to work towards something. We all know when you work towards something, it’s not like every day is easy. There are challenges and problems and setbacks, and days you feel angry, or frustrated, or just like giving up. But keep in mind, “If you’re having a bad day, just remember that you have managed to get through every bad day you’ve had. You’ll make it through this one too.” I don’t know who wrote that quote, but I really like it. It gives you a sense of peace thinking about that, doesn’t it? You’ve survived 100% of the days up until this point, you can make it through this challenge as well.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: EXERCISE
How often do you get workouts in? Or get exercise? Or go to the gym? Is it as much as you’d like? Or do you find that other things get in the way like family or kids or work or general busyness, or house projects or chores etc. Or maybe you find that you don’t have the drive to work out and more often than not you end up staying home, maybe watching Netflix or a movie or having couch time.
This is another example of making short term decisions. If you think about your health overtime, clearly the choice would be to get lots of exercise. It’s healthier for your body and your mind and will prolong feeling good and having a body that works for you later into your life. However, most of us aren’t picturing that long-term scenario, at least not very often. So what happens? We prioritize other things. When was the last time you had a workout goal?
My goal is to get some form of exercise 5 times per week. Usually for me it ends up being yoga. Since I teach yoga part time, that really helps me reach my goal each week. I usually teach between 2-5 times per week. I also have a membership at a yoga studio. In addition I consider it a bonus when I can get walks in, and I love things like downhill skiing and snowboarding in the winter as well.
ARE YOUR FOOD CHOICES BETTER FOR SHORT TERM OR LONG TERM
Think about what you tend to eat day to day. Most people if you ask them how their diet is, they respond “Pretty good.” Without really thinking about it much. I think people tend to give themselves the benefit of the doubt in this area.
Taking a minute to think about it though: how often do you eat processed food? How regularly do you eat dessert, or things that have lots of added sugar? How often do you eat fast food? How much do you cook (not including things that come in a box, or a can, or frozen meals). How many meals include fruits and vegetables? How much water do you drink in a day?
I bet when taking some time to think about it, you’ve realized that your diet could likely be better. However, food is another area where we really tend to make short term decisions. Added to that, eating is an emotional experience. There are things you love to eat because you ate them in childhood. You have memories with certain foods, maybe there is something you traditionally eat every Christmas? Some people are emotional eaters, food is what they turn to for comfort. When a situation gets stressful, or they get nervous they eat.
Food is a constant decision. Every day at least 3 times a day we are making food decisions, likely more often. Think about those snacks that sit out in the breakroom…
How can you start to tackle food? Just do one thing at a time! Thinking about it is the first step. A good goal could be making a healthier food choice once per day. Maybe you skip out on a dessert that you walk by or that gets offered to you. Maybe you choose a salad for lunch instead of going out for pasta. You could add a vegetable to the table at dinner. If you never cook, this could be a good time to give it a try!! Really, it can be so easy, all you have to know how to do is read! And follow directions.
IF YOU'RE THINKING, BUT CHRISTMAS IS COMING UP! THERE ARE SO MANY COOKIES AND DESSERTS!
Holidays can be the most difficult time to make good food choices. Here’s my suggestion for you.
For sweets: Have you ever noticed that the first bite or two of a dessert is the tastiest? After that it’s still good, but isn’t quite as amazing as the first couple bites. Just eat 1-3 bites of a dessert and call it good. Throw the rest away. Or share a dessert with someone. And maybe just choose one dessert to take a few bites of, the one that looks the best. Instead of eating 5 or 6.
For savory foods: Usually you will eat whatever is on your plate. So take little bits of each of the things you’d like, but maybe don’t take heaping piles of them. That way you get a taste, but don’t feel like you need to sleep for 24 hours after dinner.
Also side note: This is harder for the holidays because often you’re at someone else’s house. But for at home: People that use smaller dishes eat less. And smaller silverware and cups consume less etc.
Did you notice that the size of dishes (especially dinner plates) has grown massively over the last 50 years? Eat on smaller dishes. Use smaller cups. And smaller silverware. You’ll eat less automatically!
- I use my salad size plates a lot for dinner, and I have lots of small cute dishes for other things. I really love using cute dishes, so those are the ones I want to use most anyways.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
As New Years is right around the corner, this is a time when lots of people pick a goal to work on. But I’m sure you know, often people don’t keep these resolutions for long. I suggest picking a goal now that you’d like to work on (something long term!!) Pick some check in points to put on your calendar to check how your goal is going. Then get to work! Don’t put so much pressure on January 1st. Start to realize that goals are an everyday part of life and are ongoing. Remember Progress = Happiness!!
I had a yoga teacher once talk about noticing the beauty in the mundane. That’s my favorite way to look at long term goals. While they may get mundane at times, choose to find the beauty in that situation!
Have a lovely weekend everyone!