We become what we spend most of our time (and money) on

It’s month end and if you are one of the lucky ones who has a decent job or who runs their own business, you can count on a salary or some form of revenue coming in. You can take care of your expenses, the lights are on, you can decide whether it’s going to be chicken or beef, or vegetarian for dinner. However, the comforts of a somewhat middle class or upper working class come with their own share of pressures.

Our parents have worked hard to give us a better life than they had. We managed to make it through college without having to bribe, beg or steal and we are now safely far from the claws of poverty. But what do we do with this new-found freedom? We accumulate a bunch of stuff that we think we need. We entertain our friends to show off our new apartment, latest pair of wheels and everything our salary can afford us. Of course not far behind are the letters of demand and rising debt. It is so easy to spend more than we actually require or need. Before you know it you are stuck in a job you don’t like, to support a lifestyle that is stressing you out.

This has to stop. It is easier than you think. Start by drawing up a budget to see where your money is going. I am still confused when people tell me it’s in their head. Yes, but did you count your take-away cup of coffee on your way to work this morning? It’s the little expenses that add up. Once you know where your money is going, you can decide which of the luxuries you can live without. Take lunch to work instead of ordering at the cafeteria. But the meals are subsidised and we pay a fraction of the price. Yes, but you will have to work twice as hard at the gym tomorrow! Those meals are laden with fat, preservatives and everything that’s not good for you. And then there are drinks after work on Friday night. It won’t kill you to pass every now and then. Please don’t be the one who picks up the bill every time. Unless they are real friends, they will offer to pay some of the time, otherwise no need to hang out with them.

Do you really need cable or the flat screen tv that is taking up most of your time? Today you can download everything off the internet and watch on your time. Better, instead of wasting away in front of the screen, why don’t you take up a new hobby? Learn a new language, go for dancing classes. Best will be to move, if you have been sitting down all day. Put on your running shoes and go around the block. The benefits are endless. You’ll feel better, it doesn’t cost you anything and you will be more inclined to watch what you eat and better still, enjoy a good night’s rest.

We have to start taking control of our lives. Sit down and make a list of everything you want to accomplish and where you want to be in 3–5 years. Decide which habits are holding you back, what you can do without. Then take small steps every day that will bring you closer to your goals. The key is consistency. Celebrate the small victories. Only you can change your life and create the one you want. Let’s be proactive rather than reactive.

Finally, start today.

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