Yesterday was the first day I had done any weight training for 3 weeks. Ouch! As I was warming up I could feel I had lost muscle mass and I wasn't amused, but that is the challenge of traveling, isn't it? The family and I had been on-the-road as my husband and I attended conferences and did some guest lecturing at various universities. We had fun, but my physical fitness had suffered.
After the warm up I was busy "trying" to do my push ups. To be honest I just hadn't made time to do my routine while I was gone and I was now paying the price. Before going on the lecture circuit I was doing 15-18 military style push ups. Now, I was down to FOUR!!! "FOUR!!!" I yelled in indignation. My 7-year-old son asked me what was wrong and I told him that I was having to start over. Almost from the beginning, but not quite as bad as ground zero. "What does that mean, Mama." was his reply. "It means, dear, that you Mom has to lose some weight FAST!" I started pulling off weight from the barbell. 20 pounds ... Ugh! All that work to get trim, lean and mean and I was having to lose the weight because I would hurt myself if I tried the 50 pounds now!!!! Grrrr.
While I was adjusting all the weights to MUCH lower amounts it occurred to me how far I have come on my physical as well as financial journey. A few years ago (okay, ahem, decades!) when I was weight training if I had this sort of set back I would have seen myself as a failure. However, yesterday, I saw it only as a minor irritation and a bump-in-the-road. No abusive self-talk necessary. Thank you very much.
It is the same with our financial walks. We will have times were we have to pull from the savings account and almost zero out the account. For those of you who are living on the 60/40 plan you know the challenge of getting your savings account started and increasing as you pay down your debt. Then, BAM! Something happens, a child gets sick and has to go to the Urgent Care Center, or your car decides to stop charging the battery because the alternator needs replaced, or you have an electrical problem in the house that has suddenly cropped up. (By the way...all that happened to us last week! No kidding.)
When you are struggling and need a boost of confidence while saving money or losing weight or kicking some other habit here are some things that have helped me be successful:
- Don't even think about giving yourself a bad time. Don't be nasty to yourself and don't tell yourself you were stupid, lazy, ugly, or inadequate. You're trying to change here...you are going to be falling down. The point is, don't stay down. Stand back up and start over making adjustments. (In my case, pulling 20 pounds off the bar and only doing one set of weights for the next week.)
- Understand that falling down is not failure. Just because you made a mistake, ate that extra piece of cake or had that cigarette, that doesn't constitute "failure." See it as a blimp on the radar and move on. You have not failed. You have to readjust your systems. Haven't you ever had a new computer? Did you LIKE all the new toolbars? I don't. I usually have to spend at least 2 hours customizing the software.
- Learn to Laugh at Yourself. Really Laugh. Come on, folks...we take ourselves WAY TOO seriously most days. Usually the mistakes we make are not life threatening. There are usually options, people or resources that can help us out. Stop treating each bump-in-the-road as a mountain and laugh at yourself. People always bring up how much I laugh and how happy I am. Well, that took practice. It too effort on my part to learn to laugh at myself. Let me tell you....I keep the heavens in constant laughter with all the silly things I have done. I assure you.
While we are all walking this road back to financial stability and, eventually, independence. Know that there are going to be areas that need adjustment and consideration. There will be times you have to slow down and watch the road a bit more carefully. Those are the points where you stop, rethink your situation and then move on. I know you can do it. I've seen hundreds of people change their lives and I know you are one of them. Now, if you will excuse me. I've got to go down to that weight bench and do a bit more lifting!