For those of you who are new around here, I lost a crap ton of weight in the first part of this year. I started out at 268.8 pounds, when people confused me with a blimp. After a lot of hard work, I finally conquered fatness, dropping down below my goal weight of 220 pounds. That was a few weeks ago, and so far I’m managed to keep the weight off, weighing in this morning at a slim and sexy 219 pounds. While I’d like to get down to 210 lbs, (which the internet tells me is a healthy weight for my height, 6’3) I’m not entirely motivated to make it happen at this point. I feel like I’m accomplished enough, y’know?
The weight loss has been nothing but positive. I have muscle tone in places I never thought I would. I have more energy, but all that means is that I’m just less lazy than before. I’m also getting all sorts of compliments, some of them even from pretty girls. As you can imagine, I enjoy those compliments the best.
I was recently chatting with a friend about my weight loss. She was lamenting her lack of success in the weight loss department, her frustration was evident. She asked me what my secret was. The conversation went something like this:
Her: So what’s the secret? How did you lose so much?
Me: I try to keep things as simple as possible. I cut my calories to less than 1500 per day and I tried not to eat too many carbs for supper. That’s it.
Her: So you decided you can eat whatever you want?
Me: Yep. I just make sure I don’t eat so much of it that I go over 1500 calories.
Her: But you can’t do that!
Me: Why not?
Her: I was listening to a nutritionist and she was telling me… (two minutes of very specific eating rules)
One of the main reasons why this friend is failing at losing weight is she’s making everything too complicated. She has very specific meal plans, usually built around one food, chicken. I ate a lot of chicken when I lost weight too, but I switched it up constantly. The secret being, of course, not to eat too much of whatever other meat I substituted.
For me, counting calories was the most simple way to lose weight. I knew if I cut my diet down to 1500 calories a day, I’d lose weight. I like numbers, so counting calories was easy. I could eat until I reached 1500, and then I had to quit. I didn’t limit myself any of the foods I love. I can truthfully tell people that I lost 50 pounds eating whatever I wanted.
It’s the same thing with money. If you spend 90% of your net income and save the other 10%, chances are you’ll end up wealthy. If you spend 80% and save 20%, you’ll end up even wealthier. Like with calories, you figure out how much you need to live, and then cut some from that total. The amount you consistently cut is directly proportional to the amount of success you have.
This isn’t that complicated. Yet why can’t more people do it?
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. I don’t know how you will, considering I wrote this hours ago.
Couple A wants to cut down on their money and finally get their debt under control. So they work hard all week, eat at home a ton, and generally do a nice job. At the end of the week, they have $200 left. So they decide to treat themselves.
They go out for dinner on Friday night. Since they’re celebrating their success, dinner inevitably comes with a couple of drinks. After dinner, comes a movie, complete with delicious movie theater popcorn. (Can’t really fault them there! That stuff is like sex in your mouth.) By the time they’re done for the evening, most of that $200 is gone.
Why do people do this? They’ve just negated their hard work.
Entitlement is the parasite that robs from all of us at some point, and if left unchecked, can be one of the most destructive elements of your personality. When people feel entitled to little treats because they’ve been working so hard, they can often undo all of the hard work they’ve put in. It happens with saving money, with work, with losing weight and with countless other things. It robs you of any meaningful accomplishment.
It’s Hard, But It’s Not Difficult
I’ve often heard people say saving money is hard, but it’s not difficult. The activity is something a grade school-er can understand. Why can’t more people do it?
There are all sorts of reasons, but they boil down to willpower. People, for whatever reason, just can bring themselves to repeat the process enough times to get to the desired goal. Yet they’ll lament their failures, not understanding why they can’t make that proverbial next step. The outside observer gets it, and yet makes the same mistakes in their own lives.
What’s The Point?
Entitlement robs people of all sorts of important things in their lives. People want to change, yet they feel entitled to treat themselves. This is what holds people back from accomplishing all sorts of goals, monetary or otherwise.
Often, these afflictions will seem to be disproportionally suffered by young people. Members of the older generation will lament, complaining among themselves about the “damn kids these days.” Perhaps one of the milestones of growing up is making some sort of meaningful change? Or maybe it’s finally owning up to the irresponsible behavior that got them into trouble in the first place.
Once people check their entitlement at the door, then they can begin to realize that accomplishing something major is a series of small changes, repeated over and over again. Want a girlfriend or boyfriend? Find a way to start talking to lots of single members of the opposite sex. (or the same sex, if that’s the way you float) Similar changes will cut down your weight or your debt. And once the changes are made and some success is had, you’ll realize it’s just not that complicated.