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One Simple Question That Could Change Your Life

goal setting, setting goals, achieving goals

I’ve been trying to lose a little weight, but it hasn’t going very well for me thus far. I’ve got the exercise thing down, as I workout 60-90 minutes a day. Locking down what I eat has been a completely different story.

After the rest of my family had gone to bed on Thursday night, I decided to have a snack. A small bowl of ice cream lead to a bowl of chips, and ended up with several raids on the bowl of left over Halloween candy. As I was unwrapping a fun-sized candy bar, a simple question popped into my head.

Are my actions consistent with my goals?

The simple answer is, it wasn’t. My late night gorging of snacks completely negated a day in which I had eaten fairly healthy, and had logged a six mile run.

A similar experience occurred over the weekend. Friday evening my wife and I went to a movie, but the way the schedule played out we didn’t have a chance to eat dinner before the show. We ended up stopping at a restaurant after the movie for a late night, mediocre dinner. The next day, we were out shopping and my wife’s mother called and asked if we wanted to meet them for a drink which also turned into dinner. Sunday featured stopping to eat somewhere on our way home from church. As I took my last bite of a fast food burrito, I stopped and asked myself that same question again:

Are my actions consistent with my goals?

Except this time I thought of not only my weight loss goals, but also our finances. Every meal was completely unnecessary, and literally ate up all of our discretionary funds. I won’t even go into the completely unhealthy food choices I made.

On Sunday night my wife and I did our usual weekend spending budget breakdown. While we stayed within our budget for the weekend, neither of us were happy with the spending choices we made. We both agreed that we could make much better use of our funds than just blowing it on junk food at restaurants that we could make ourselves at home. We have a common goal to spend our money on things that bring value and enjoyment to our lives. Our restaurant choices gave us convenience, but didn’t give us any value at all.

So we came to an agreement. Each time we are discussing spending some of our hard earned funds one of us has to throw out that question that had popped into my head twice over the last week:

Would this be consistent with our goals?

We hope that this will help us make better decisions with our money. Hey, it may even help me with my waistline as well.

Are your actions consistent with your financial goals?

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  • Mostly no, unfortunately. I have a lot to work on. Financial, weight, spiritual….basically I’m a failure. But every day is a new chance to start over. Thanks for something to think about.

  • Glad you and your wife are on the same page.

    Specifically regarding food at home, I can’t have anything bad in the house or I eat it. I am a super fit guy who eats healthy and works out a lot. I run marathons and have the discipline to live a healthy lifestyle…….unless there is junk in the house. If you put a bag of licorice in the cabinet, it’ll be gone by the end of the day. I combat this by not bringing in any junk food that will sit in the house into the house. I used to buy the big bag of licorice, take 5 pieces out and trash the rest before getting in the house. Why? I know I don’t have control.

    The same can be said for someone who can’t control using a credit card. Don’t have one with you and you can’t use it. Don’t leave junk food in the house and you won’t eat junk food.

    That’s our approach at least. Hope it helps.

    The Warrior

  • @Cathie- Don’t be so hard on yourself, my friend. We all choose the wrong path on a daily basis. The goal is to try to make the right decision more often than you pick the wrong decision. I love your attitude, though…..every day is a NEW opportunity to do better! Thanks for reading and commenting so often, Cathie – you are much appreciated here at CleverDude!

  • @thewarrior – you and I are very similar….if I start eating something I’ll just keep going until it’s gone. Portion control? what’s that??? 😉

  • I’ve been struggling to put together a functional emergency fund with no luck…turns out my actions are very divergent from my goals. I over-run my budget (most times) and end up raiding the e-fund to make ends meets…at times because I made an impulsive purchase.
    Its worthy guiding question. Makes you stop and reflect before taking the action!

  • My actions are definitely not consistent with my goals all the time. This came at a great time for me because one of my biggest goals for 2014 is to travel, and I’ve been spending quite a bit over my discretionary budget so that’s making it difficult for me to save enough to travel at the extent that I’d like. Thanks for the little reminder.

  • @Simon – I’ve been there for sure…it’s hard to say “No” to yourself when you’ve got that money (in the Efund) just sitting there. It’s certainly an exercise in self control – good luck to us both!

  • @Daisy – My pleasure! 🙂 As we come to the end of one year, and start a new one it’s a perfect time to reflect on what we want to accomplish in 2014 and get a plan of action together.

  • Everytime my friend comes up to me and says something like “Now, it’s time to do more sports and loose weight” and then, the next day, after work, tells me that she made a biig mistake, there was sooo much tasty food at work, she just couldn’t resist, I wonder what’s would be a good reply to behaviour like this.

    I know we all struggle with certain things, but I just don’t get this weight issue. Probably because I don’t have one, if I want to loose weight, I can easily. For me it’s harder the opposite way.

    Maybe I could just take a different example from my life: getting up in the morning. Sometimes I set myself goals (a certain time in the morning to get up), which I would like to achieve but when the alarm takes off, I just stay in bed one or two more hours. This happens sometimes. It’s not always clear to me why, but one thing everyone should remember is, why we do the things we do. What exactly is it, that get’s us up in the morning. One has to imagine the output, the benefit of all the effort. What does it feel, what does it look like. Once you have your EMOTIONS in place, your ACTION will follow.

    As a former friend always said: make up your mind!

  • @Chris – Great perspective – “Once you have your EMOTIONS in place, your ACTION will follow.” You have to have your head in the right place before you can accomplish anything. Thanks for stopping by!

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