To Accomplish, February 2010

There’s a pedometer competition going on at my company site right now.  I’m on a team with 10 or so of my coworkers, and we all wear pedometers and try to walk 4 miles every day.  One coworker has gone a little crazy trying to beat everyone else – he consistently has been walking 7+ miles per day, although before I think he was probably walking about 2.

This is good for him, and I’m glad he found something to motivate him.  However, he now uses it as a point of superiority.  If I take a day off running (especially on the weekends, where I’m typically couchbound, reading or watching movies) and only get 2 miles, he’ll announce it to the office.  What he ignores, of course, is the fact the I average over the required 4 miles per day (usually closer to 5 or 6), and some of mine is running, which isn’t counted completely (since the pedometers are calibrated for walking).  He also ignores that the only change I’ve made since the competition started is walking to a bathroom that’s farther away.

I told him we’ll see if he can keep his mileage up after the pedometers are taken away.

So what is the point of this story?  I see some parallels between my coworker and the PF blogging community (this isn’t at anyone in particular, although it may be inspired by the comments I see on other blogs).  It’s easy to motivate yourself, when you first start to worry about money, to dive in and put in 100% effort toward saving.  It’s easy when you have a specific goal to work toward – paying down debt or building an emergency fund.  It’s easiest when you need to save to survive.  In these cases, cheap one-ply toilet paper seems like an easy sacrifice, elaborate money-saving schemes don’t seem like too much effort, and you look forward to that two-hour walk every day.

To these people, those of us who have been consistent with our finances all along seem like we’re slacking.  Maybe we don’t have that drive to save more and more, because we’ve found a natural pace that still allows us to meet our goals.  And maybe there’s more going on behind the scenes – perhaps those 1,000 steps on our pedometer are from a full sprint. (It’s not a perfect metaphor.)

To Accomplish, February 2010

1. Save all but $200 of my bonus.
I am a firm believer that bonus money is extra money.  However, since I really want to meet my savings goal for this year, I’m going to put most of it into savings.  Chad and I will each get $100 added to our fun money balances, though, just so we don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of our labor!

2. Don’t spend any money on new clothes.
The exception is that I can buy something new for the bar/bat mitzah in March.  My hope is that a black dress I wore to a wedding a few years ago still fits, and all I’ll need is some new accessories – I’m thinking a wide emerald green belt. (By the way, if anyone knows where I can find a dressy wide emerald green belt, let me know!)

3. Run at least 12 miles per week, and have 2 weeks where I run 6 miles.
I don’t know how you’re supposed to work the mileage incrementing when you’re training, but 12 seems like a reasonable next step after 10 miles.  I think I might have been getting close to this goal anyway.  I also want to try to get some longer runs in.  Last month I did a few five-mile runs, so the next goal is six.  My biggest problem during the longer runs?  I get bored!  The weather has been bad, so I’m running on a treadmill for an hour.  So. Boring.

4. Do yoga 2x per week.
I have learned my lesson.  I’ll also continue with the 30-Day Shred, but no goals for that because I have been doing a crappy job with it.  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to fit in a 20-minute workout!  My biggest problem is that I say, “Have to Shred tonight!” and then all of a sudden, it’s 10:30pm.  Sleep always wins.

5. Finish the 1,000-page Stephen King book my Mom got me.
It’s Under the Dome, and every time I look at the cover, I think of The Simpsons Movie.  I can’t help it!


2 Responses

  1. Hello,

    First, congratulations on a great blog. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of saving for retirement, but you’re doing brilliantly! Like you, I enjoy saving, but also love clothes. I hadn’t come across Anthropologie before – but saw your link to them, and see they’ve just opened up in the UK (where I live).

    I couldn’t agree more about the sprint metaphor; a short burst of effort for a specific purpose is much easier, and quite different, from maintaining sensible, but not obsessive, habits day in, day out.

    I’m not sure a life at that level of competitive saving would be terribly much fun either….

  2. So my 20-minute a day resolution/determination didn’t last through my 12 day cold. But I’m wondering if jumping jacks count since it raises your heart rate … but it’s not like you’re doing any work. I feel like the jacks are to exercise as cucumbers are to nutritious content. Not substantive.

    Back to working my way up to real exercise!

    Metaphor’s close enough, if the entire PF journey can be handled as a sprint or a marathon, then we’re more on the marathon track, I’d say.

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