If you’re a fan of reality television, you’ve probably seen a show with contestants who live on a ranch working day after day to lose weight and get healthy. I’ve often thought to myself that I could easily lose weight and achieve an incredible level of fitness if I were given the opportunity to leave behind all the responsibilities of real life for a few months, and instead, concentrate every waking thought and action to my health.
The goal is for contestants to use their time on the ranch to develop healthy eating and exercise habits. The hope is that contestants will see how much better their lives can be with their new habits, so that they’ll find a way to integrate them into their daily lives once they return home.
How This Applies to Financial Habits
Though it’s the most common excuse for being out of shape, lack of time is also a reoccurring offender on the list of financial excuses. People may blame time as the reason why they’re not reviewing their finances, creating a detailed budget, or dealing with other bad habits. Believe me, I understand.
Reconciling the checking account, paying the bills, and creating a spending plan takes a significant amount of time. Add in the potential of needing to discuss and agree on financial issues with a significant other, and it’s easy to put finances on the back burner in favor of something else.
It’s easy to think: “If only we had more time, we could develop those healthy financial habits, too.”
The Perfect Time to Work on Financial Skills
Would you believe me if I told you that many of us have a perfect period of time each year to work diligently on the development of those habits? It’s a time when we leave the worries of our jobs, and even our day-to-day lives, behind us.
It’s called vacation.
Raise your hand if you just grunted or scrunched your face in disapproval. I know vacation is supposed to be complete and absolute time off from responsibility and worry. There should be no concerns about money, and everything you eat is “calorie-free.” But don’t call me crazy just yet; hear me out.
Put It Into Action
While you’re on vacation, decide to work on your finances, your fitness, or whatever goal you’ve been avoiding. Vacation days are filled with leisure, so you don’t have all the responsibilities of day-to-day life to eat up your time. Commit a small amount of time each day towards the goal, and make it happen. On the last day of your vacation, think about how you’ll integrate your newly found routine into your normal life.
I think it’s important that you know I practice what I preach. Last week, I was on vacation with my family in Florida, and I exercised every day first thing when I got up. It took about an hour, and then the rest of my day was open to do whatever I wanted.
My wife and I typically have budget discussions on Thursday and Sunday evenings. Like clockwork, even though we were on vacation with friends, we disappeared for 30 minutes to go over our finances. Granted, we were maintaining habits we’d already formed, but it’s just as important to stay in the groove while out of your element. Otherwise, your habits (both old and new) may disappear once you return home.
It’s spring, and many of you will soon be planning your summer vacations. What new habit will you form this year?