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Focus on Your Race

In living life, it is difficult to completely ignore those around us and how they live. Sometimes a neighbor comes home with a new car and yours suddenly looks older and a bit more worn out. Friends talk about an amazing vacation and you suddenly wish you could have soaked up the sun in a European locale.

We have a cliché saying for this, "keeping up with the Joneses." We also have a cliché response, "stay in your lane."

When a swimmer is in a race, the lanes are divided by large round plastic dividers. These serve two purposes. The first is to delineate the lane for the swimmer. The second is to help shield the swimmer from the view of the lanes of his or her competitors. Without the distraction of where your competitors are, you are able to focus more of your energy on your race ahead.

How much could you drive yourself forward in a swim race and focus on your own technique if you could see your neighbor's position relative to yours? Would a bit of panic that you might lose set in? Would that break your focus?

A budget helps you focus on your race ahead. It gives you something to focus your energy forward toward your goals, thus leaving little mental focus to waste on others. Building a habit of checking it every day as well as tracking all of your spending helps reinforce that focus.

Would the neighbor's new car be so distracting if you knew you were working toward a new car of your own? One that you liked better? What about striving to make your own European vacation a reality? Suddenly you can be happy for your friends' amazing time and take their input into how you plan your own dream.

Then, when your dream is made reality through your effort and careful budgeting, you can enjoy it more fully knowing it was your plan all along.

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