Over the past week I have shared this analogy with several of my clients and it “sticks”! Let’s say you are the family planner and financial budgeter. It’s October and you realize Christmas and property taxes are right around the corner. You know you will be spending quite a bit of money in December. Do you:
a) Spend like there’s no tomorrow and worry about your credit card balances December 20th, hoping you’ll get a free offer for a new credit card around December 15th?
b) In October, budget in order to be in the black come December 1st so that when you do need to buy presents you won’t go too far in the red
c) Don’t worry about it much because you’ve already saved your money last summer and you have enough in the bank in order to safely skate through December without going into a national deficit.
Now let’s say you are going on a big trip with friends and/or family to Italy this summer. There’s wine, pasta, pizza, gelato and pounds to be gained (lots of them). You are hoping to be in the best shape of your life before you travel to Italy. Do you…
a) Crash diet 2 weeks before the trip, cleansing, detoxing, fasting and starving so you can have pizza, pasta and gelato (knowing you’ll gain it all back because you’ve only lost water and completely messed up your metabolism)
b) Start to get in shape a couple of months before the big trip, working on your fitness, watching what you eat and starting to lose a few pounds before your adventure, hoping you can keep it off.
c) Are already in shape because you planned on being in phenomenal shape several months before the event while at the same time creating lifelong habits of how to travel, what to eat and how to exercise; no matter where you are? You know that when you get to Italy you will indulge a little but you will feel so great about your health, you won’t feel possessed to eat pizza and gelato like you will never have it again…ever?
Of course in each scenario, best case is “c”, and with “b” you can get by (barely). Unfortunately, so many of us choose “a” in our life, not just with our health and our budget…but everything. We put off what we know we need or want to do because somehow we make ourselves believe in the 11th hour we can always pull it together.
The problem isn’t that we pull it together; it’s that we never plan for what happens in the moment after we dodge the bullet. We stay on this inevitable roller coaster through life and are always living in the 9th inning so to speak.
It is late spring now. Most likely you have something fun planned for later in the summer which involves activities and indulging. Consider starting your spring training early and go into the home stretch already having achieved your goals!