Posted by Dave on August 20, 2013
I, like most people have the innate ability to constantly win arguments against myself. My arguments are usually around food and money. Maintaining my health and a stable amount of money are both a constant battle for me – I would always like to eat more food, or spend more money. The bad thing about wanting more food or to spend more money is that I detest the gym or any real form of fitness, and I’m constantly immersed in today’s consumer society, even though I don’t end up purchasing the vast majority of “stuff” I look at.
I needed to implement some sort of method with both maintaining my health (which I keep track of through weight) as well as personal finance. If I didn’t do something like this, I would constantly end up “losing” to myself – eating too much or spending more than I wanted to compared to my budget. These short-term wins generally create more work in the long-run, either physically, because I have to work-out harder to balance bad food choices or literal work to pay for bad money choices.
For personal finance, my main method of ensuring I am on track is to clear out my chequing account – leaving only the “allowed” amount of money to spend for the month. I have 4 accounts at 3 different institutions that I utilize, but only have 1 debit card (the other accounts are all electronic). At all times, I’m aware if I’ve spent too much money over a certain period, because my main chequing account will show it. the system (which is easy because of internet banking) allows me to detect my own terrible arguments to myself and ensure I reign in spending before it impacts my long-term goals.
This past winter, I bought a body-fat analyzer. I wanted to be able to ensure that the weight I was gaining was actually muscle, and not fat from extra food I was eating to gain that muscle. Prior to getting the analyzer, I was able to justify the extra food I was eating and weight gain by telling myself that I was gaining muscle. If I check my body fat percentage 2 or 3 times a month, I know if the weight I have gained is actually muscle, or if I’ve got some work ahead of me because I needed a panzerotti on Sunday afternoon.
I don’t want people to think I am constantly walking around arguing with myself. I have just realized over time where my weaknesses are when it comes to health and finance and have created simple systems which allow me to stay on track, despite my best attempts to sabotage myself.
How do you ensure you stay on track with long-term goals? Do you have a “self-check” in place?