Another year done, another year begun. Welcome to 2015. I thought I’d take this time to share some things I’ve done in 2014 that have changed my life.
- YNAB: This must be the most useful app I’ve ever used. Since we started using it, my wife and I are actually able to make and stick to a budget. And it has meant tens of thousands of dollars in savings. Not only that, any friction on finances that existed between us is gone. Not only has this app forced us to save, it has helped me enjoy what I spend. Without YNAB we spent more, but none of that spending was purposeful. Now whenever we spend, I feel satisfaction. And when we’re under budget, we’re able to put cash towards something we’d really enjoy. My advice to you, get YNAB and start using it!
- Exercise: Where we’ve automated our saving, I was able to automate my exercise. This year I ran a marathon because, two years ago, I started running one mile a day every morning. I ran a marathon 17 years ago in college, and I’ve always wanted to get back into running. But whenever I tried to do 4 miles a few times a week, that few times inevitably became 3 times, then twice, then once, then never. Instead of going so far, I picked a time of day with no interruptions (5.30am) and decided to run a short distance every weekday. My hope was that I could program the routine. And it worked! I’ve run thousands of miles since, lost almost 40 pounds and feel a lot better.
- Diversifying income: I’ve typically felt insecure in my work, but over the last couple years I’ve opened myself for contracting opportunities outside my main job. It has helped me increase my earnings, hone my skills and feel generally more confident about all my work. In the end, instead of feeling overstretched, I actually do better at my main job because of my added perspective.
You may be thinking, where did you find the time to do all this? An interesting question because I still watch a lot of TV, read a lot of books and spend a lot of quality time with my wife. When you start a new activity, the world makes time for you. So this year if you’re having trouble saving money, losing weight or launching new ventures, automate! It’s tempting to do something really hard once a week, but it’s better for you to do something easy every day. In 20-30 days, you’ll just do it. When I run at 5.30am in the morning now, there are a lot of times I don’t want to. But because I’m mentally trained, I don’t realize I have a choice in the matter until I’m halfway down the street. At that point, there’s no turning back.