It’s Your Fault!

I’m only a month into this “new lifestyle” of being awesome. But here’s what I’ve realized: I’m not as awesome as I’d hoped. I started by hacking my financial life. I took some steps to create an awesome plan to retire awesomely early. When you’re trying to streamline something to be the best it can be, you realize there are shortfalls. I realized I had places I could improve in financially, so to help me, I started this blog. It hasn’t been up long and it doesn’t have a lot of traffic, but it’s my piece to help myself and people like me be better. We can be smarter. We can make better choices.

In optimizing my financial life, I realized I’ve got more optimizing to do.

I set up the blog to help me make better financial choices, so I became hyper-aware of financial discussions happening all around me. It turns out people are always talking about using credit cards like checkbooks, struggling to pay off large student loans, and buying all the things! If you are involved in the online personal finance community, it makes you just want to shout “YOU KNOW BETTER! DON’T BE STUPID!” Because, of course, I’m smarter than them. But I’m not.

We all know what we should be doing, but no one can make us do it. If it’s not happening, it’s your fault! 

I went to physical therapy after Lui was born. My ab, pelvic, and hip muscles had completely forgotten how to function as they should. I went once a week. The rest of the days, I did the home program because I knew I would be held accountable (if only that adult guilt would have been with me as a youth in piano lessons…). Then, I graduated from physical therapy. I still couldn’t do a full sit-up, my hips still hurt frequently, but my muscles at least knew what they were doing, so I was sent on my merry way. I would like to say that since that time, I have maintained my home program daily and can now hike a mountain without my hips hurting and can beat Mr. T in a sit-up contest. The truth is, I’ve done my home program very sporadically.  I’ll do it for a week, then stop for months. My hips hurt when I walk a lot. I’ve only successfully done two sit ups since Lui was born, and I had to earn those two occasions. I could only do a sit up after sticking to the program daily for an extended period of time.

I’m writing this to stop myself from settling. I’m done settling. 

I’m used to telling myself things like: I fit into my pre-Lui clothes, so I’m healthy (ignoring my lack of functional muscles). I was so good at not buying anything last week, so I deserve this. I exercised yesterday, so tonight I deserve to relax with Netflix. I’ve been stressed out, so wasting my time is fine this one time. My kids only listen if I yell. I’m not making any decisions that are THAT bad, so I can let all the little things slide.

It’s time to stop. I can’t do a sit up. I can’t retire yet. And guess what? It’s my fault! 

This blog will remain about our financial journey to early retirement, but I’m already discovering that as we try to perfect one part of our lives, we want to see the same results in the other parts of our lives. As I see the improvements I can make in finances, I can see that I’ve been letting myself off easy in other areas. I am not smarter than all the other people making dumb choices. I may make different dumb choices, but I’m just as dumb. And now I know I’m capable of so much more. 

It’s time for me to snap out of it and get to work. So here I am shouting to the universe, “I got this!” This is going to be the best Monday, the best week, the best month, and the best year. I hope yours is too.



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  1. What you’re struggling with is SO normal. Perfecting any aspect of life, but especially finances, is a neverending process of trial and error. You’ll feel stoked one day that you figured something out, and then six months later realize that you had it all wrong. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. What matters is the overall direction of your progress, not that you’re perfect every day. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      I love the vote of confidence. I need to focus more on the trajectory than on the daily failures. If I’m heading in the right way, I can pick up better habits along the way. When I focus on each day, I lose the bigger picture and one setback can throw me. Enough!

  2. My husband is in PT, and he pretty much refuses to do the exercises at home until I get him an exercise ball. Which I know will immediately go to waste as soon as the sessions are done.

    There are other ways to do his damn exercises, but he won’t. To be fair, he’s in a fair amount of pain, but he can do them in the sessions so… Yeah, he could do better. But pain is both a great motivator and a great inhibitor.

    If and when being pain-free (or closer to it, anyway) matters enough to you, you’ll do the exercises regularly. Until then, the best you can do is try to set an appointment each day to do the routine. And not beat yourself on days that you don’t follow through.

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that struggles with this. I’m not in pain all the time, which is a total blessing. But I am certainly limited in what I can do completely pain-free. I plan to change that. One day at a time. 🙂

  3. I think I can relate and I’ve come to realize that this is normal and I stopped fighting it.
    We can spend our entire life trying to make something perfect until we find something else that needs fixing. But It’s ok.
    We can’t be perfect and we shouldn’t try be. Who wants to be a robot?
    Keep going at improving your life (financially or otherwise), every day will be a little better. And even if not perfect, imagine the results in 20 or 30 years from now!

    • MaggieBanks

      I agree. I can’t perfect everything at once. Parts of my life will always be messy. But I have the problem of going all in or all out. I need to find a happy medium of pacing myself and sticking to long-term trajectories of growth.

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