Living Well 1

by teresalaynebennett

profile view of Teddy Roosevelt facing his statement about what self-discipline is

Pay attention to the simple, “little” things.

Most of us, thank goodness, don’t love money; we love what money can DO for us – allow us to live well. A key component of living well (and one of the most powerful stress-busters known to modern man) is living within our means.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a sneaky way of backing into the real topic of this three-part, Living Well blog post. But if I had called it what it’s really about – Living Within Your Means – wouldn’t you have skipped it? Yes, well; there you go.

Now that I’ve come clean, just stick with me for a bit. Don’t stop now, because I HAVE GOOD NEWS. Living within your means requires only one thing. Of course, that one thing – self-discipline – is a rare commodity in 21st century U.S. Oh, let’s just tell the whole story. The other dirty little secret: self-discipline is on the same black list – in our society – as personal responsibility.

Are we really clueless –
or just not paying attention?

Why are we so unwilling to make ourselves follow our own rules so that we can achieve our own goals for our own lives? Looks suspiciously like self-sabotage to me. (And why do we snicker at those who practice personal responsibility, following their own rules to reach their own goals for their own lives?)

We SAY we want to live within our means. We SAY we know our mounting debts cause us sleepless nights and ever-increasing stress. We SAY we know stress is bad for our bodies and our minds. We SAY we’ve learned that having more things doesn’t necessarily make us happier (translation: allow us to live well). We SAY we know all these truths, but we live as if we don’t.

I first wrote the material that appears in this set of Living Well blog posts almost five years before I started this blog. Since that time, our country experienced The Great Recession. Life got ugly. People lost jobs, homes, self-respect.

I was hopeful. Yes, hopeful. I was hoping that venturing so near the guillotine would’ve scared our society enough that we’d stop the self-sabotage.

Dang. I was wrong. We’re still doing it. I see it all around me. Shoot, I even find myself shooting myself in the foot, even when I know our economy is still shaky. Again I ask, are we clueless or just not paying attention?

Could it be …?

I’m just thinking aloud here. Could it be that we’ve forgotten that self-discipline consists of tons and tons and tons of little – teeny, tiny, minuscule –  decisions? Have we overlooked the fact that making small AND EASY behavior modifications will help us live better?

Could it be that relatively painless, minor decisions will slowly but inevitably lead us into a more self-disciplined lifestyle and a lifetime of living well? As you can tell, I think so. And I’m not alone. Thousands of generations before us have learned this lesson. Read Living Well 2, if you don’t believe me. And then tell me if I’m wrong.

red box with white text of quote fro Robert J. Ringer

We know this. Now we need to practice it.

© 2013 Teresa Layne Bennett