It is easy in life to just go through the motions of living. Get up, go to work, run errands, cook dinner, watch television, surf the internet. Days, weeks and even years can slip by when we don’t purposefully allot time and energy to the people, projects and goals we believe are important to us.
Back in 2013 I wrote out what I called “My Destination” as a roadmap of how I wanted to live my life in the pursuit of health, wealth and happiness. This idea came from “Living the 80/20 Way” by Richard Koch This is what I wrote at that time:
Do you know what it feels like to be stuck in a rut? Every day seems the same and the Joy Meter is reading empty. I hate when I get stuck like this. It is a gnawing feeling in my gut and an emptiness in my mind. I go through the motions of living but in reality I am just trying to get through each and every day. I think that in order to get out of the rut, we have to do something different. We have to step out of our comfort zones and take a small step in the direction we want to be going.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be something huge but it has to be out of character. It has to be something that makes you think, feel, believe just a little bit differently than you do when stuck in the rut.
Growing up in the 1970’s as Child #8 out of 9 meant I was always one of the “little kids”, always one of the youngest. When my whole family gathered, I always sat at the kids table, always got booted off of the couch for someone older, always wore the hand-me-down clothes. I spent my childhood wishing I was older – like a teenager! I wanted to go out at night with my siblings, I wanted to stay up late eating ice cream with Mother Fran, I wanted to babysit the neighbor kids to earn a little spending money. I seriously remember thinking “when I’m big, I am going to eat cake and ice cream for breakfast”! I knew how to dream BIG.
Those of us who call ourselves frugal have different ways of trying to reach our goal of not spending money foolishly. We have different ideas of what that means and different reasons for choosing to save vs spend money.
The definition of frugal according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is: “careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to : using money or supplies in a very careful way”. For me, being frugal means I don’t spend money foolishly. I plan my large expenditures carefully and save money in advance to pay for them in cash. If I do use credit, I always pay my bills in full each month. I hate to spend money on interest and late fees; it makes me feel squeamish to say the least.
Today I want to look back at 2017 to see how I did reaching my goals. I have talked about goals in the past and how reviewing them regularly helps me to stay on track. Half way thru 2017, I did a review of my progress and asked the smart ass question “Are Your Goals Useless?”
In that post, I state “on New Year’s Eve, many of us make a big deal about creating resolutions to make changes in our lives. Resolutions, goals, intentions are pretty much useless unless you take the time to review your progress, identify your barriers and develop action plans.”
This is the year-end review of my 2017 goals to see whether they were met, addressed, abandoned, or simply not prioritized. It is proof that I follow my own advice regarding not simply making meaningless goals.
The holidays are over and winter stretches ahead like a long, dark, daunting tunnel with only 1 exit. I can choose to keep my head low, plod along muttering about the arctic cold and wind or I can sit back and enjoy the warmth of the fireplace and the good company I keep. I remind myself frequently that my perspective on any given situation makes all of the difference. If my perspective does not keep me on the path I have chosen then it is time to change it!
Work has been slow for the last week which is no big deal, however I have to stop myself from getting anxious about an upcoming tiny paycheck. When I don’t work a typical 9-5 gig it is easy to lose focus, forget why I work per diem instead of harnessing the security of a full-time job.
Do you want to increase your happiness? There is more than enough to go around and it is free to make more and more. One could argue the supply of happiness is endless.
Then why are people so unhappy all of the time?
I think we live such busy, hectic lives that we are stressed out most of the time. We don’t spend time doing things we love and eventually we forget the joy we once derived from simple pleasures. We get caught up in daily chores, work, responsibilities, and commitments and forget to do the little things that bring us joy.
I would argue that if you want to increase your happiness, if you want to be a better person, if you want to be the best YOU possible; that it takes work. It takes some introspection and quiet time. But all of the time and effort is worth it once you can find ways to maximize your happiness, reduce your stress and spend time with the people who bring out the best in you.
I love to cook. I usually have a main ingredient in mind and then start perusing the fridge and the cabinets to see what else is on hand that I can toss in the pot. I think about what protein I want, what fresh vegetables I have and the spices that will bring it all alive.
Preparing dinner is my down time at the end of the work day. I usually drink a glass of wine or an ice cold IPA while cooking and sing along to my favorite tunes. I start a meal while still thinking about what else to add to it and the final product is often nothing like what I had in mind when I started. I will stop what I am doing to run out to the garden to pick some fresh basil, parsley and tomatoes or at the last minute prepare some type of sauce or salsa to top it all off.
You see, I am not a perfectionist when I cook in the kitchen. I am more of a creator or a sculptor.
Laughing out Loud!!! Ok, Ok. That is a stretch. No one has ever accused me of being an Artist in any way, shape or form.
Can you believe 2017 is half over? 6 months have flown by and it is time to do a formal check in to see how I am doing with the goals I set for myself back in January. I set some finance, health, happiness and relationship goals and now we will see if I am on track, need to get in gear or need to adjust them to fit my current situation. This is a critical step to ensure my goals are not simply words on a piece of paper or ideas in my head.
I like to write down my goals and keep them in my face so I don’t neglect them or forget about them. My Google Keep Page comes up every time I turn on my computer so that is where I jotted them down. I like that I can color code it and rearrange it and check things off when completed. Unfortunately I am not computer savvy enough to move it to this post so I will need to type it over!
Deliberately choosing health, wealth and happiness has become my mantra, my go to approach, my new way of life. I strive to make the right decisions that keep me on the path of health, wealth and happiness. With that in mind, I am nowhere near perfect and sometimes making the right decision is a struggle that occurs in my head with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.