Since we’ve established that I can’t do moderation at all, I figured I would share the new trick that has (for a limited run of 2 weeks) helped me to keep my treats in moderation. Gaze, friends, upon my habit tracker:
At the bottom are four things I need to do more habitually, with 24 points to be earned for doing them (plus a bonus for finishing out the category). At the top are 10 rewards I get at 10-point milestones. The rewards are things that I’ve wanted to do for a while but have a hard time justifying, or small items that would make me happy but are otherwise very frivolous. The idea came from the tips page for my fancy Passion Planner (an awesome, recently Kickstarted planner that I highly recommend).
The habit-formation part seems to be working. Who knew that being able to put a chibi Avengers sticker on a glorified potty training chart would provide enough motivation for me to get up at 5 am to go to the gym? Yet, go I do. I also love that the rewards are a reminder that working hard also means practicing self-care.
The unexpected financial component is that I have found it much easier to avoid spending money on little temptations knowing I have some special, much-wanted little things coming my way soon. Actively choosing what treats would make me happiest and knowing that I can get them with a real sense of having “earned” them when the time comes has made it easy to forego other treats. “I can’t have you today, Starbucks, but it’s okay because I’ve got Ghostbusters with a kiddie pack coming my way soon, and it’s gonna be awesome.”
Sometimes working towards really big financial goals is hard, because the time they take to accomplish and their abstract nature makes them difficult to focus on when directly faced with spending temptations. I find having small “fun” goals to look forward to in those moments is really helpful. How do you all work fun into your financial plans?
… Now excuse me while I go reward myself with a sticker for this post.