About a year ago I started approaching personal and professional decisions with the question – What have you got to lose? I do a lot of reading, video watching and seminar attending, so I’m not exactly sure where this idea came from and if it was you who gave me the motto, please remind me! I’ll revise this with proper credit.
By asking myself “What have you got to lose” rather than setting New Year’s Resolutions, I was able to intentionally maintain self-improvement throughout the year. These are the areas I have wanted to improve – some for many years:
- Reading the Bible
- Attending Church Regularly
- Eat Healthier
- Exercise Regularly
- Pay off Debt
Now this list is some wishes for sure, but once I got intentional, I turned them into Smart Goals. Here’s where we are one year later…
Reading the Bible and Attending Church Regularly have been two long-term items on my To Do list. I am a pretty private person who was raised Catholic, but only attended church until second grade. I struggle with skepticism. I’m turned off by bible thumpers. And yet I live in the Bible Belt where there is at least one church and often two on every street corner. Embarking on these two journey’s I really struggled with finding a comfort level, until I considered, “What have you got to lose?” By asking myself this simple question over and over again in the past year, I have managed to read 3/4 of the New Testament and tuned in to FishHawk Fellowship Church for all but a handful of Sundays. I have really learned the value of progress by small increments.
Eating Healthier and Exercising Regularly. What have you got to lose? Maybe some weight. Maybe some autoimmune disease symptoms. Maybe some hospital visits. I wore a FitBit most days of the first 6 months and on exercise days for the last six months (after I joined Anytime Fitness). In a year I walked 1,450,825 steps. By asking myself “What have you got to lose?” I learned about food and how it affects the body, glycemic index, sugar, gluten and other grains, protein, carbohydrates. I stayed out of the hospital and learned foods to eat to avoid autoimmune symptoms. After my health stabilized, I joined a gym and for the first time in well, ever, I have successfully worked out regularly for four months and I don’t have any plans of quitting anytime soon.
Getting Out of Debt was more than a yearly commitment, but it was part of this “What have you got to lose?” movement too. I dug in and followed my Financial Peace University training, I listened to Dave Ramsey. I had a weekly date with my budget. I paid cash. I worked nights and weekends with Tina Newberry Designs customers to throw every extra penny toward my debt. In September I became debt free. “What have I got to lose by not having debt?” Not. One. Thing. The real question with this one is what have I got to gain?
Did any of these activities harm me? No. Did I benefit from all of them? Yes.
The older I get, the more I realize slow and steady wins the race. Am I an expert in ANY of these areas? No. Not even close. But I will tell you, by asking myself “What have you got to lose?” I am closer now than I have ever been before.
As the New Year rolls around, you could set some New Year’s Resolutions that will be forgotten by February. Or you can set some goals and ask yourself, “What have you got to lose?” Get intentional with your life and see where it will take you in 2018.