Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I recently wrote about the emotional toll of reaching a goal, which got me thinking about other reasons many folks never reach their goal.  I think one of the reasons could be temptations, which I've experienced myself.  Temptations to satisfy that urge for immediate gratification, which could lead to a lack of focus and be a distraction from obtaining one's goals.

Reaching a goal is often a slow process, therefore requiring focus and discipline.  After a few months, keeping on track can become more difficult.  After a few years, it may become overwhelming for some.  The slow pace and the distant gratification are the perfect conditions for temptation!

While typing this I think of the many people that are trying to lose weight.  They start off going to the gym every day, they're living off a diet of green drinks and protein bars ... only to find themselves back to their old habits in a few weeks.

I think that reaching a goal requires balance, just like maintaining one's weight.  If you're too extreme you'll burn out and probably throw your goals to the side, giving in to those temptations.  Taking things slowly and working towards a goal while still living a fulfilling life will likely increase the odds of obtaining that goal.

Temptations are all around us!  Whether it's food that you've sworn off, a new item at the mall, or invitations from friends/family that consume your time ... temptation comes in all forms!

During the past few years I've had two temptations that had to do with work and income.  The first temptation was a couple of months before Ken and I set a goal of cruising.  Years earlier, I had finally achieved my goal of becoming self-employed as a real estate agent.  Making the change from an office job with a steady paycheck to a "commission only" job was scary!  However, I've managed to survive and I only wish I had made the leap to self-employment earlier.  Just as with cruising, there's nothing like the sense of freedom that self-employment can provide.

Right about the time the housing market took a dive, a friend of mine hooked me up with the opportunity to work full-time at an attorney's office.  I'd have a pretty good income and benefits, and I wouldn't have to worry about when my next paycheck was coming!  Since the housing market didn't look like it was going to improve any time soon (it still hasn't) ... I accepted the job.  Long story short ... I quit 3 hours into my first day at work!  While being shown my duties and where I'd be working I began to feel suffocated.  The walls felt like they were closing in on me and I had an overwhelming urge to bolt!

Instead of pushing the nice woman aside and running, I did the next best thing.  I interrupted her in mid-sentence and told her I didn't think this was the job for me.  She was pretty surprised, but handled things well.  I told her that I just could not give up my job as a Realtor, and I had to stop wasting any more of her time.  As I drove the 30-minute ride home, I was so relieved!  I knew I had to try everything I could before tossing my real estate career.  I did NOT want to give away my freedom if possible!  I almost caved in to the temptation of a steady income.  I almost tossed my goal of self-employment.

The second temptation was just about 5 months ago.  A man that rents a space at our real estate office needed a part-time employee ... every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.  The pay was average, but with very little real estate transactions the past few years I was tempted.  The pay would definitely help supplement the loss of income I'd been enduring.  However, thoughts of my last job prospect started filling my head and I started to think things through.  I determined that staying away from the real estate office 3 mornings a week would destroy any chances of picking up a prospect.  If an agent has any chance of picking up some business, they need to be at the top of the daily  "sign in" sheet to receive a a property call.  I then figured out how many hours, weeks and months I'd have to put into the part-time job to equal one average home sale commission.  I decided to avoid the temptation, as I would only need 2 or 3 annual sales to equal an annual salary with the part-time job.  *I only need a few sales a year because I've also remained focused all these years on keeping my bills low and not spending frivolously.  (Have you seen my "Frugal Fridays" posts)?   Oh, and I pay all of my own bills (that's another future post).

I am now about to close my second sale of the year (terrible, I used to close 2 a month!), which confirms to me that I made the right decision.  Taking that job would have not produced any more money, but would have required a commitment of a lot of my time.  Time that I've been dedicating to our goal of cruising would not have been available.  I've been working on our house, and soon hope to be packing up, selling things, and helping Ken on improving Nirvana.  I'm glad I kept focused on our goal and didn't get distracted!

We're staying on the path to that big, blue watery road!

Ken and I both have taken some financial risks in order to continue working towards our goal.  I'd think that many successful people took a lot of risks to get where they are now.  Many of them also endured some failures with those risks, but they tried and they didn't give up.
If you have a goal in mind remember to pace yourself, stay focused and don't give in to those temptations!  If you've been tempted let us know.  We'd love to hear your story!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Sandee said...

I'm glad you stuck to your guns. It's very obvious that you did the right thing in both instances.

I've not had work issues. I was a cop and that's exactly what I was meant to do. I've never regretted a moment of my wonderful, exciting career. I guess I've had lots of temptations, but nothing that's altered my life in a bad way.

Have a terrific day. :) said...

Nice post! You make some very good points. In working toward our goal of cruising I am finding the comparison between losing weight and working toward this goal to be accurate. Just today I was thinking how we cleared out a lot of stuff, then just rested on our laurels for awhile, and now we're back to clearing out more stuff. This year I lost quite a bit of weight as part of my personal preparation for being on the boat more. Some people try to just keep losing until they have reached their goal, but I find that I have done better by losing some, keeping it off, and then losing more and keeping that off. That's worked very well for me. Maybe I just don't do a dramatic change all at once very well. I do get discouraged a lot lately, though, that we are not making progress fast enough and our current boat still hasn't sold.
In terms of temptations, the only thing that can get to me is that since we're still living in our house, I want it to be comfortable and attractive. I am sometimes tempted to buy things for the house that don't really mesh with our long term goals. On the other hand, I am WAY better about that than I used to be, so maybe I'm making progress in that area, too!

Dani said...

Ah yes temptation...

When we started saving for our goal I split the bank account up into "spending" and "bills". Only the minimum amount we can live on per month goes into the "spending" account, not a penny more. That is all we have to spend on everything. The "bills" account has everything else, all the bills and anything for boat comes out of here.

That said the real temptation for me is buying things for the boat. We made a list of things within our boat refit budget, if it's not on that list, it isn't coming from the "bills" account and only comes from the "spending" account, meaning less eating out that month.

Setting up these two accounts makes it easy for us to stay on track each month and resist temptation. Like right now we only have $65 to last us until Monday. No eating out this weekend!

Glad to see you working towards your isn't easy especially when everyone else has such an easy time spending money on the latest this or that.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Dani, it sounds like ya'll have come up with a great system.

LCP ... congrats on the weight loss! I know it's discouraging that your house hasn't sold yet, but it will happen. In the meantime, may as well enjoy the summer and sailing!

Sandee, you are so lucky to have enjoyed a long career doing something that you loved. If you're gonna work, it should be something you enjoy!

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