Be Careful When You Cheat

It’s not what you think.  The context I’m talking about “cheating” in is not one we normally think of.  I’m not referring to cheating on a relationship, in a game, or ay other type of contest.  I’m talking about cheating on plans.

How’s that diet and exercise plan going right now?  How’s that spend more time doing things you love plan going?  How’s that financial plan going?  Have you cheated on any of these lately?  It’s ok – really!  I’m not beating anyone up for cheating.  I can cheat on diet and exercise with the best of them (not to mention other things).  But the problem we all have to be careful of is cheating on plans without planning to compensate.

For example – ideally if I eat something that wasn’t part of my diet plan I’ll add something to the exercise plan to compensate for it.  When I use my time for something other than I planned to use it for ideally I can make up that time somewhere else so that I still accomplish the things important to me.  When we cheat on our budget and use funds intended for one category for another category, we should make up for that in another category.

It’s no secret that most people lack the discipline to stick to every plan perfectly.  Our minds change.  We lose focus.  Our motivation wavers in moments of weakness.  But we must accept that when we don’t follow the plan something is going to compensate whether we want it to or not.  If I blow up the diet I’m going to have to exercise more or fall short of the fitness goal I want to accomplish (or let it take more time).  If I skip quality time with my family I have to make time available to replace that or miss out on those moments forever.  If I spend money on eating out that wasn’t in the plan I won’t have as much money as I wanted to have for vacation (or it will take longer to save it).

The common denominator in any of those scenarios is time – the great equalizer.  All plans require time.  We can either stick to the plan, compensate, or accept that the goal will take more time.  The easiest option is to avoid the discipline of sticking to a plan and simply accept that reaching goals will take more time.  Why rush goals when I can eat what I want now, make urgent what seems urgent now, and buy whatever I want now?  Just accepting that goals will take more time enables us to cheat on plans without compensating.  It enables us to lack discipline.

It is the lack of discipline to stick to plans or compensate and adjust to changed plans appropriately that makes so many people fall short of their hopes, plans and dreams.  A little cheat here and a little cheat there never hurt anybody…until it adds up over time into a mountain of lost opportunities.  So be careful when you cheat – it could cost you something you can’t get back, time.

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