Entitlement and bad math skills. These are two reasons people have so many problems these days. We feel entitled to have it our way (thanks to Burger King) and we expect it now. Also people are choosing to be awful at math, I guess I could blame this on the schools but I am more apt to blame it on bad parenting. It’s not hard to teach your kids math. 2+2=4 is pretty simple. Unfortunately you can’t pick your parents. I would also blame some of this on the government and their lack of keeping to a budget. What kind of example is that to the people? What should you expect the average person to maintain a budget surplus when you don’t yourself?
Let me start with a few simple equations relating to the title here.
Calories In < Calories Out = weight loss – Preferred
Calories In > Calories Out = weight gain
For those of you whose parents haven’t taught them what < mean that means “less than”. You can remember that because < looks similar to a L. > means “greater than”.
The cool thing about equations is that you can affect different parts of them differently. For example you could reduce your calories in by eating less and thus make it less than calories out yielding weight loss. You can also increase calories out, for example by exercising, and thus make it more than calories in, leading to weight loss again. You have options.
The simple reason why diets don’t work is that people only affect one of those parts of the equation (calories out) and only for a short time. If you revert to the state that lead to the situation, by quitting your “diet” you should not be surprised at the weight gain.
As Einstein said (allegedly) – Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Onto the fat wads of cash equations.
Money In < Money Out = Debt
Money In > Money Out = Savings (Fat Wads Of Ca$h) – Preferred
By now you should understand the equations as they are the same equations. Notice that which on if the prefered equation is different though. You want excess in the money equations, you don’t want excess calories in in the weight equation.
Now onto the entitlement thought of the day. The problem with these 2 sets of equations is that you have to sacrifice things to come out on the preferred side. If you want to lose weight you will have to sacrifice some temporary comfort, either in the way of being a little hungry sometimes (not even starving, eat one less donut!) or less comfortable in the way of spending some time doing some physical activity. Gasp!
On the money side. You are required to make some sacrifices as well. Do you want to eat out every week for lunch that’ll be $50+. Do you want to make your own meals, probably will be $25 or < (that’s that less sign again). Do you want a new car and recurring payments for 72 months! Let me just tell you that no you don’t. You can probably continue driving your old car and banking that $500+ a month. Savings!
So that was on the savings side. On the “Increase income” side you have plenty of options as well. Take a look at where you are now. What’s your income? Are you happy with that? Then disregard this completely. If you are unhappy then maybe take some time to research what jobs will pay you more. Then you can investigate what is required to take you from where you are to that job. Let me tell you, it’s not likely going to be a fast journey and that’s where the entitlement problem comes in. “I want it all and I want it NOW” as Queen says is the mentality we have these days.
That needs to change. Some people have very low self esteem or low motivation. I’m here to tell you that “You can do it!” Sometimes that’s all people need to hear is someone giving them positive reinforcement. Today is the best time to start. New year, new you right? The only thing is you need to maintain the new attitude or habit. Don’t give up 1 week later like most New Year’s resolutions.
You will notice that I mentioned creating good habits. That starts small and you will likely not see results immediately, but over time, much like compound interest, small changes add up. One pound lost a week over a year is 52 lbs! $10 saved a week (don’t drink 2 coffees a week?) is $520 a year! Small change over a long period time is the only sustainable way to do things.
I heard a story one time where a person said
“I want to run 3 times a week to lose weight.” – John
That person was asked “How’s that going?”. – Jen
“Not well, I don’t have time.” – John
“Well, why don’t you run one time a week?” -Jen
“What good will that do?” – John
You can recognize the fatal flaw of entitlement. John expects himself to go from 0 to 3 times a week running with no effort. Remember when I said “You can DO it.” The key there is DO. Action often drives passion. If you can rouse yourself to go to the gym, or avoid buying a $5 coffee one time, you are more likely to do it the next time. Actions breeds passion.
My challenge to you is to choose one action in your life that you are not particularly happy with and change it this year. Start small. Set some actions that you can follow that will reinforce the new habit. Put a dollar in a jar each day if you want to save money. Do one push up before you get in the shower each day, or more if you can. Start small, but don’t forget to ramp it up as you progress. Have a happy and successful 2014!
Darin McClure – cover photo – Flickr Creative Commons