I was listening to the Dave Ramsey Show on I heart Radio a few days ago and Dave said something that really struck a chord in me. After taking a few callers, it was clear that the topic of the day was going to be "set a goal and STICK to it".
At some point in the show Dave said,
"Americans cannot stick to anything for four minutes!".
As sad as it is so say, he is absolutely right! The key to success in almost any thing is to STICK TO IT. Though that concept is so simple, it can be difficult to execute for many people. This applies to not only Dave Ramsey's steps to financial peace, but to many other things that Americans find it difficult to stick to, like living a healthy lifestyle.
We often put things off and put them off again so we do not have to deal with them until some unforeseeable time in the future. The problem is, when the time comes that we HAVE to deal with it, it is MUCH harder to deal with then if we would have decided to resolve it the first time.
For Americans, I think the two biggest things that we put off time and time again are:
1. Eating Healthy/ Living a Healthy Lifestyle
2. Making a Budget/ Getting Control of Our Finances
We sit around wishing we could be more fit or wishing we could have more money. Am I right? Do you know anyone who wouldn't fit into one or both of those categories?
Dave stresses the importance of teaching children how to be successful with money. He points out the fact that most people overlook this area of teaching when it comes to raising their children.
I think that most people also overlook the area of healthy eating/healthy living when raising their children.
We teach our children that those are things that they do not have to deal with now, they are things that they can learn later. As a result, many of us adults are still putting those things off today.
We cannot exactly change what happened up until this point, but we CAN help what happens from here on. We need to suck it up and create change in our lives so we can see positive changes in the future.
I have put together a list of 10 habits to start implementing now (stop putting them off)!
1. Stop living only in the "NOW". Start thinking about the future.
- I am going to have cake for dinner tonight and I will start my diet next week
- I'm not sure if I have enough money for this vacation so I will put it on my credit card and pay for it later.
- I have a lump on my side. I'll probably go get it checked out sometime...
- I'll probably get a raise in the future so I will start saving for retirement/kid's college then.
Notice a common theme? We do it ALL the time. I can think of a million examples! What others can you think of?
First, realize you are doing it and make a real effort to change it. Understand that the choices you make today GREATLY affect your future. Will you be able to retire early or will you be working until you can no longer stand up? Will you spend your time playing with your grandkids or sitting in a chair watching alongside them? These tough questions need to be addressed.
Next time you find yourself putting something off, make yourself deal with it then. Think about the consequences that may exist if you choose to put it off, and keep doing it!
Make it a habit!
2. Make a Budget
NOW is the time. Sit down and make a budget. Know where your money is going each month and have a plan for the future. How much do you spend on groceries a month? How much for retirement? Do you know how much you need to retire? Is your contribution today going to make that happen? Answer ALL of those questions and MORE. Get down to the nitty-gritty.
I had made many budgets in the past that basically went like this:
"My expenses are X amount and I have X amount left over. Ok, great. I have X amount to spend on everything else."
Sound like your budget?
The problem with that budget is, you have no clue how much you are spending on anything. You basically know that you have enough to cover all your bills (which is great), but how do you know what you can and can't do in the other areas you spend in? Can you afford a vacation this year, or two perhaps? Do you have a plan for your kid's college? Where did the rest of your money go?
If you properly budget, you will know the answers to ALL of those questions.
3. Don't Drink Sodas
Sound like something you've been trying to stop? We've all been there.
The truth is (and we all know it) sodas are terrible for us. They have WAY too much sugar and no nutritional value. They have bad chemicals in them. They make you bloated. They can cause a kidney infection if consumed too frequently. They have caffeine, which can be bad in large quantities. They are expensive and unnecessary! They stain your teeth. They can create cavities. They contribute 10+ pounds of extra weight a year (depending on the amount you consume).
Do I need to go on? I know I am not telling you anything you didn't already know, but I am just making it obvious that you already know and you are choosing to ignore the facts.
IF you choose to stop TODAY, you will thank yourself tomorrow.
I used to be a Dr.Pepper-aholic. I drank it with EVERY meal and almost never drank water. One day, I decided there would be NO MORE SODAS for me. I can honestly say that it did not take more than a few weeks before I did not even want a soda, period. I didn't crave them and the 1 or 2 times I decided to have one, I did not like the way it tasted when I drank it. Too thick. Too sweet.
Stick to your goal, that is all that it takes to develop and new GOOD habit. For those of you on Dave Ramsey's plan, it not only helps you take care of your body, it is MUCH cheaper to drink water!!!!
4. Eat Breakfast
Just do it. Eating breakfast gets you going in the morning and wakes up your metabolism. For us adults, we need to do EVERYTHING we can to keep your metabolism going!
So, if you are one of those people who are still ignoring this, NOW is the time to fix it. I know you are not hungry when you first wake up. I know you have never been a "breakfast" person. I know it is hard to make the change, but I also know that IT CAN BE DONE.
Make yourself eat something (healthy) for breakfast every morning for a while and you WILL be hungry. Your body will start craving breakfast, and that is a good thing. You can retrain your body and you need to NOW.
5. Eat Snacks
This one goes hand-in-hand with the last one. Just like you have got to get your finances in control, you have got to get your eating habits in control. Eating breakfast is the first step. The next step is eating at least 5 times per day. That means: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner.
Keep your metabolism going by eating consistently. Do not let it go to sleep! Eating will NOT make you gain weight, it will help you loose it. I know you have heard this. Now, you need to do it. It is not hard to implement.
Wake up, eat breakfast. A few hours after breakfast, have an apple and peanut butter. Have lunch. A few hours after lunch, have some carrots and hummus. Eat dinner.
Create a schedule that works best for you. I know that I eat my morning snack around 10 a.m., which is about 3 hours after I eat breakfast. I used to watch the time so I wouldn't forget to have my snacks, but now I don't have to. Now, my body lets me know it is time to eat again. It has already burned through breakfast and is ready for more! My metabolism is fast like a teenager's again because of the changes that I implemented. Make it a habit and thank yourself later!
6. Stop ignoring nutritional values
Do you think about what you are putting into your body? Do you make choices based on what your body needs? Just like any other machine, our body needs certain things to operate properly. We need water, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Note: If you had doughnuts for breakfast, Chick-Fil-A nuggets for lunch, and quesadillas for dinner, your body is not happy.
You are not a child anymore! You need to be conscious of the things you put into your body. It cannot operate correctly if you only eat out of 2 food groups. You need fiber to digest food properly and you need calcium to keep your bones strong. You know these things. Stop ignoring them!
When deciding what to eat for dinner tonight, first stop and think. What have you not had today? Anything green? No? Then cook/order a side of veggies or a salad. Be aware of what you eat and stop and THINK. Make this change now and you'll be thankful that you did in the future.
7. Stop eating out all the time
Did your college habits some how follow you into your adult life? Still eating the majority of your meals out? Most Americans do.
It is healthier and WAY cheaper to eat at home. Cook meals and eat at home. Save the eating out for the times when you cannot eat at home or for special occasions. If you eat out a lot, this can be a hard habit to break, but it can be done. Get groceries. Cook at home. Bring a lunch to work.
This is such a great way to save money AND take care of your body. Be weird and make the change, you can do it!
8. Stop buying junk food
First, DO NOT go to the grocery store when you are hungry. I know you have heard and ignored this before, but this is very important. You will make better choices if you eat before you go to the store. Hungry? Eat first, then go to the store. Got it? Good!
When you are at the store, don't buy junk food. If you only have good available to you, that is what you will eat. Buy lots of produce. Avoid the bags of processed crap! No, you do not need a bag of cookies. Once again, they are expense and unnecessary! Why waste money on things that are bad for you? This is one of the best GOOD habits I have ever made. I only buy good things for my house and in return I only eat good things.
9. Stop ignoring exercise
If you haven't gotten to that point where you've realized you have to be active to be healthy, then you will. Sooner or later. Most likely you know you need to exercise, but you don't. Now is the time to make a change.
Sign up for a yoga class 3 times a week or join a sand-volleyball league. Do something, anything active. Get off your butt and make a change! If you keep putting it off, you will be sorry. Being active a couple of times a week today is way better than ignoring it until the day you decide to start working out "hard-core" and be a sloth in the meantime. Make it fun. Do whatever you have to do to be an active person. You do not have to join a gym and get on an elliptical everyday to make this change.
Make it a habit to be active. Now. Not later. If you wait until "later" then you really will have to be a "hard-core gym-rat" just to lose all the weight that you put on while you were putting off exercising.
10. Stop going through the Drive-Thru
How many times do you have to see McDonalds exposed for their TERRIBLE food on the news before you STOP going there? Just because you cut out drive-thrus does not mean you never eat out.
All you need to do is make better choices when you eat out. Opt to go to McAllister's Deli over eating at Taco Bell, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, etc. There are many places that serve actual food, you should not be choosing the places that serve 99 cent meals. You are an adult so you should act like it. If you are out and need to stop for a meal, then do just that. Stop. Take 15 minutes to find a places that has good food.
Make this a life long habit! How long has it been since you've went through a drive-thru?
Alright guys, that's all! All the things that I know you have heard time and time again, but have chosen to ignore. Start making some small changes today that will result in big changes in the future. Be in control of your finances and your health because BOTH are very important down the road!
What are your thoughts? Do you do these things already?