Ready To Start Fresh?
My daughter is in Mrs. T’s Kindergarten class. Mrs. T starts off every morning with a hug for each of her 22 students. Her teaching assistant Mrs. A does the same thing, so every child in class gets two hugs before the day even starts.
Not every student in Mrs. T’s class is well-behaved – in fact, a couple of them are really difficult. Day after day of dealing with multiple misbehaving 5-year-olds is sure to wear you down. I can’t imagine starting each day knowing I would have to be with some of those kids (one of the top reasons I’m not a teacher is a distinct lack of patience!)
But every morning, Mrs. T and Mrs. A hug each and every one of their 22 kindergarten students. They start each day fresh, as though yesterday didn’t happen.
One Day Doesn’t Derail a Diet
You’ll hear similar advice when you’re starting a diet. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. Today is a new day. Yesterday’s complete splurge didn’t derail your entire path. Pick back up today and continue down the road.
But all too often, a fatalist mentality takes over.
“Ugh. I fell off my diet yesterday. I guess it doesn’t matter if I have these donuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch and this giant burger and fries for dinner. I’ve already ruined my diet – it makes no difference what I do now.”
I see this same thought process in finances as well.
“I am already so far in debt; I’ll never get out. Why should I bother to pay attention?”
STOP THE PRESSES!!!
If you have a goal, pursue it. Period.
Hurdles come up all the time in life. A hurdle is a hurdle – you’re meant to jump over them, or crawl under them if necessary. But a hurdle isn’t a wall. Don’t allow it to become one.
So stop what you’re doing, if your actions are working against your goal. And no, it’s NOT easy. Nothing good for you is easy. But it’s also not hard. It’s just different.
It isn’t hard to not eat potato chips – you just don’t put them in your mouth. It doesn’t mean you’re starving; it means you’re making different choices. You’re choosing to eat something healthier.
One Day Doesn’t Derail a Budget Either
The path to financial success isn’t lined with big screen TV’s, new clothes and cute shoes. It’s paved with board games because you cut the cable cord, the same clothes you wore last year because they still fit, and shoes whose only purpose is to cover your feet – not necessarily look fabulously amazing.
If your goal is financial freedom, or at the very least, freedom from your debts, you’ll have to make different choices to reach your goal.
So your spending yesterday didn’t move you down the path toward financial success. All is not lost. Dust off your frugality boots put them back on and continue your journey.
Yesterday’s problems don’t belong to today. You had a bad day at school because your students acted up. Start today off with a hug, and hope for better behavior today. Don’t dwell on yesterday.
Hurdles will appear on your path. Just jump over them, and start the next day fresh.
Mindy Jensen is the Community Manager for BiggerPockets.com, the premier real estate social network. She writes about real estate and personal finance, and in her spare time, she’s a real estate agent and investor, flipping houses with her husband.