There are two main things (outside of relationships with family and friends) that I put great importance on – my health, and my finances. My issues with both of these items is that maintaining long-term plans with either takes a significant amount of effort and mindfulness. Being (at times) an impulsive person, I have some issues around achieving a happy medium between not being able to do everything I want to do, and doing too much, resulting in short-term issues, and Damage Control.
For me, I find the mindset that I need to get into over “blips” in my plan is to look at the serious long-term 3-5 years down the road. I have to force myself to realize that pigging out on an unreasonable quantity of pizza or Chinese food one night doesn’t mean that I need to give up on trying to get into prime shape for next year’s golf season. Similarly, if I did something rash like going overboard on video game or concert ticket purchases, the realization that this is such a minuscule percentage of my long-term budget has been enough to stop any further spending.
The thing either of these plans that has worked for me, is consistency – the minor variances from my overall plans shouldn’t lead me to completely exit all of my plans. I know that I want to be at or around 175 pounds – if I step on the scale and I’m 183 after a couple of days of unabated consumption, I know that I need to get back to my basic (healthy diet) for a couple of weeks and lay off all of the fun food I’m eating.
Money is a little more difficult – there are some bills I can’t not pay (companies seem to take issue with this kind of action), but it’s cutting out the majority of “fun” expenses for a period of time and building up a bit of savings that helps. In the fall, I played in a “Super Serious Golf Tournament” with a friend of mine (because we played with Super Serious Golf Rules, and took the rounds very seriously). It was 4 rounds of golf in 3 days at some nice courses, after a season of golf – affordable, but not cheap to do. Since then, I have stopped doing most of the fun activities that I like to do, in order to build up my personal savings so I can do things like that next year. In my early twenties, I probably would have doubled down on fun times, which may have thrown off my entire future plans.*
Long-term plans are hard – the result is unknown, but if you don’t deal with the little bumps in the road that come up, the whole thing won’t work.
How do you deal with unforeseen issues that arise with your financial, or other life plans? Do you have any strategies that work for you?
*Greg Fitzsimmons has a really good comedy bit on money in his special “Life on Stage” (available on Netflix) that deals with trading future fun for today’s fun, which I think readers of this blog would enjoy.