Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Don't Fail Twice in a Row

The self improvement book I am currently reading is Atomic Habits by Jame Clear. I’ve heard James on several different podcast before and found him to be a very intriguing guest. So it really was just a matter of time before I would read his book. While I’m only two thirds of the way through as I write this, I would (and have) recommend giving this book a read.

One key item that I took away and have already started to implement into my daily life is the strategy of “don’t fail twice in a row.” Often many of us are doing well with a new goal or habit, only to miss up once then quit. We get into the routine of going to the gym everyday. Then we miss one day, and never return. We go a few weeks eating healthy but forget to bring our lunch to work, then it’s back to getting something from the drive thru.

So many times we are making improvements to our lives and we hit one bump that sets us back into our old ways. Self doubt is quick to take advantage of a minor setback.

This has been the biggest issue with me sticking to a written budget. I end a month by sitting down and writing a budget for the next month. I take the time to note all my planned reoccurring expenses. I look through my calendar to make sure no quarterly or seasonal bills sneak up on me. I start the month with a solid plan and the confidence of knowing I will be telling my money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.

For a month or two I stick to my budget and track my spending diligently. Then sometime mid month I slack off a day or two recording my spending. Then self doubt walks in, I throw up my arms and say “oh well, maybe I’ll try again next month to stick to a budget.” Does that sound familiar?

For me, that’s where the “never fail twice in a row” philosophy comes into play. Earlier this month the above scenario happened to my budget. Last weekend I lost a pocket full of receipts and didn’t keep track of the cash in my wallet. My first thought was “oh well, guess I’ll try to stick to a budget again next month.” But then I decided to try the alternative I’ve learned from the Atomic Habits book.

The next day I went back to tracking my spending. Yes, my end of month numbers of my written budget may be off. But I kept reinforcing the habit of tracking my expenses. Which is more important at this point than the accuracy of my written budget vs. my checking account. I can reconcile the bottom line when I start next month’s budget. What I gained is a few more weeks of consistency with being better at keeping my budget.

Don’t fail twice in a row! Remember this the next time you sleep in, or miss the gym, or don’t go for that run. One miss won’t stop you for reaching your goals as long as you don’t miss again right away.

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Sioux Scout
If you're into backpacking, hiking, hammocks, bush craft and other related things, I have a YouTube channel dedicated to that. Please check it out: https://youtu.be/IzIfJNC9RCo

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