I’m writing today from seat 18A on a Delta flight out of Reagan-National airport in Washington, DC. Fortunately, I’m heading home instead of leaving. It’s always a good feeling to go home.
I used to fly a lot—nearly every week for almost five years. In that time I learned about airport security (Sept 11, 2001 was five months after I began my travels) and the value of frequent flyer programs. I learned all of the tricks to getting good seats and which airports to use or avoid, how to get better rental cars and how to pick a good hotel. In five years of constant travel, I developed a series of habits that made the travel easier.
A little over three years ago, I stopped flying and got a job closer to home that allowed me to drive instead. It was a different routine and different habits developed.
Last year I flew only four times and had gone more than two years without getting on an airplane. This year is half over and I’ve only flown twice. I may have another trip or two pop up before the year is over, and I enjoy it.
Looking back on this trip, I can see that I easily recalled and applied the lessons learned from five years of weekly flying. It wasn’t as difficult to deal with a six hour delay and arriving at 1 am. I learned long ago that those things happen and you have to remain both flexible and patient (qualities I don’t naturally possess).
I guess my point is that I developed habits as a result of my routine. And even after several years, I could tap into that knowledge and instantly benefit. Life is the same way.
If you’ve slacked off on your workouts, it’s easier to get started again if you have had times in the past when you exercised consistently for a significant period of time. It’s much hard to get going if you’ve never done it before.
If you’ve never lived on a budget, doing so can be frustrating and constricting. It’s not fun. But just as you know that exercise is good for you and will make your muscles sore for a while, doing a budget is the right thing to do for your future and the financial stability of your family. It will be difficult and it will hurt. You’ll want to quit, and if you do you’ll lose the benefits.
However, if you do a budget for a while and push through the pain, you’ll learn to make it work. If it becomes a habit, deeply ingrained by your routine, you’ll be able to push through the difficult times (job losses, unexpected expenses, economic downturns, etc.). That future pain won’t be nearly as difficult if you prepare today.
So what are you going to start doing today—even if it’s difficult—in order to have a better or more productive tomorrow? What books will you read? What plans will you make? What habits will you develop? What goals will you set?
If you have questions, just post a comment or use the Ask James form. I’d be happy to help. Of course, I’ll have to wait for the plane to land first!