Saturday, June 24, 2017

Self Control…does it Exist Anymore?

October 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Budgeting, Featured Posts

I consider myself a pretty disciplined person. I’m focused, fairly organized, I chose how I want to live each day and what I want to achieve. I have a profitable business, I give back to my community, I’m reasonably healthy compared to the ‘average Joe’ but yet I still get myself into debt! How does this happen?!
Personally I’m obsessed with paying off my credit card every month. Granted, some months are easier to pay off than others, but it got me thinking…where is the self control? Does it exist anymore? What has happened to the day of old when people saved in advance for things that they wanted? Clearly, I’m the type that wants something and figures out a way to pay it back afterwards. Are we all like this now? Credit card statistics would say “YES”. A study conducted by the Vanier Institute of Canada found that household debt has doubled from $46K in 1990 to $86K in 2009, 85% of that increase attributed to credit card debt.
Where has the debt come from? It seems to be a combination of rising living costs, lack of budgeting, and excessive spending. Then when a blip happens in our life like unemployment, car repairs, or health issues, we’re not prepared and we use our credit cards to solve the problem…momentarily. Alright, so it’s obvious that better budgeting, living within our means, and planning for a rainy day is mandatory for staying out of debt but what about “will power”?! How do we get more of that characteristic that our grandparents seemed to have?
I did a little digging and according to Joseph Ferrari, acclaimed psychology professor at DePaul University in Chicago, you can have the skills to reach our goals but if you’re ignoring them you have to examine why. Apparently, just being aware of the temptations that you are going to face is the first step. Then simply making a choice in advance not to ‘give in’ to temptation and knowing what you are going to say to yourself is a second step. This technique creates a calming effect and will lesson our urgency to make a choice, which is usually a bad choice.
For me, vision boards work. Yes, many of you out there will think this is silly but they work! When I can see my goals in colour, feel how excited I am going to be to reach my goals, and what life is going to be like when I get there, it’s easier for me to turn down a new cozy sweater or expensive dinner with friends. I also try to keep my vision board semi-realistic and have some images of things that I can attain in 6 months or a year, instead of 5 years from now. My brain doesn’t work well when I am thinking years down the road.