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Mistakes you can’t afford to make

By on December 22, 2007

photo by net_efekt
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Personal-finance experts often say to pay yourself first, and to not spend money you don’t have. Some people use small reminders, such as Post-it notes or stickers in their purses or wallets, to make them think before making an impulse purchase, while others simply ask themselves whether they can afford it. Ask these questions about the nonfinancial choices you make, too.

Although making mistakes often leads to learning and innovation, consider the following day-to-day experiences that can lead to mistakes you can’t afford to make.

DISHONESTY: Sometimes it seems that honesty doesn’t pay off as well as lying, cheating and stealing, but that’s simply not true. Being a person of character still matters. Live by your principles. Learn to keep secrets and promises. Your word should mean everything. To thine own self be true — true to your morals and ethics. Own what you do and how you do it.

TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS: Some relationships are exhausting and unhealthy. Cut ties with those that bring you down. These relationships will suck the life out of you. Learn to create boundaries and stand up for yourself. You deserve happiness, and you have options.

POOR HEALTH: Make a commitment to improve your health. Take time to care for yourself. Eat well, exercise and seek help with behaviors that decrease your quality of life, such as working too hard, smoking or overeating. If you have issues such as substance abuse, get the help and support you need before it’s too late. Make the effort. You’re worth it.

PROCRASTINATION: Prioritize what you need to accomplish. Get organized, make a decision and don’t expect perfection. Don’t take on too much, and try to break larger projects into smaller tasks. Limit distractions and take action. You’re going to feel great when you’re done.

NOT TAKING RISKS: Taking responsible risks is a big part of change and personal growth. Break out of your comfort zone and expand your world. Challenge yourself to shake things up. Simply try something different. You’ve got to trust yourself, explore and create your own adventure. Don’t let go of your goals and dreams.

HOLDING A GRUDGE: You benefit by forgiving because you stop wasting energy and can work on letting go of the past and looking toward the future. The anger and hurt don’t stop immediately, but you’re allowing the healing to begin. It doesn’t mean you’re OK with what someone has done. It’s simply a method to finding peace for yourself.

GREED AND ENVY: Selfishness, envy and greed are destructive and rob you of happiness. To want or to take more than you deserve is ugly. Comparing yourself to others or being jealous of someone else’s accomplishments or possessions is a waste of time. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. There isn’t a reward for catching up. Be compassionate and generous. Do something kind without expecting anything in return.

WAITING FOR HAPPINESS: Looking for happiness around the corner is common. Many people tell themselves if only they had this or that, they’d be happy. When we shift the focus away from ourselves and toward others, we find happiness. Be mindful and live consciously each day. Try to live in the moment and be grateful. Happiness is a choice you make each day. It’s internal, a part of you, and you create it. You can’t afford not to. All the small moments add up to what is inevitably your life, so take control of your time and invest in friends and family.

One Comment

  1. Melissa

    7/22/2009 at 12:38 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that what you wrote made such an impression on me. I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I do learn from my mistakes. I’m going to clip your column and keep it where I can see it to remind myself of my goals for this new year.

    I enjoy your writing so much, and I’m glad our small-town newspaper carries your work. I wish you all the best.

    With good wishes,
    Melissa T

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