It’s A Way of Life, Not an Event

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A way of life dictates decisions we make - even in challenging times. An event can be good to reach, but pointless if the way of life isn't changed with it.

We all have things in life we’re shooting for. Regardless, for the most part, of your stage in adult life you’re either getting ready to begin working on a goal or in the midst of trying to reach one. I’d also say it’s safe to assume that there is some reason behind that goal.

Either that goal is going to improve your way of life in some form or fashion, or it’s going to free you to do other things. They don’t always have to be financial, though I’d imagine that many of them have some sort of financial component involved, albeit maybe not the driving reason behind said goal.

What do you do once you’ve reached the goal or are very close to attaining it? How do you still enjoy life without taking your foot off the gas pedal and sliding back into bad habits? This is the battle I’m currently facing.

My Current Goal


I’ve shared fairly extensively here about my goal to lose weight. It hasn’t been a wishy-washy “I want to lose weight” New Years Resolution kind of goal, but one that is quantifiable. I want and am currently working towards losing 100 pounds – I’m currently at 94 down.

That is a staggering number, one that I’m constantly reminded of when I walk up and down the stairs of my house and am thankful that I can now do so without feeling winded. However, as I’ve been seemingly forever in the rut of killing the final ten pounds, I’ve been looking more forward to seeing that triple digit loss. It’s not that losing 90 some odd pounds is paltry and losing 100 is record breaking, but you get my point, there is something to appreciate about hitting that triple digit number. I want it more than anything I can remember in recent memory. Thanks to Nutrisystem, I was able to lose the 100 pounds and completely change the way I live. If you’d like to lose some weight and need some help doing so, check out the deals at Nutrisystem to get a kickstart.

I’ve been hit with something the past few months. Even if the struggle to lose the final few pounds has been a battle it does not mean that once I see that magic number on the scale that I can throw caution to the wind and start consuming a diet of Snickers bars and Ho-Hos while chasing it with copious amounts of Mountain Dew.

To do something so ridiculously stupid as that would immediately tarnish the original goal and equally nullify the event, in my opinion. Having true success with the goal, whatever it is, means taking that perspective or mindset that initiated movement and harnessing it into a new way of life. It’s something I see as necessary to really make the success I’ve seen stick so that it just isn’t an exercise of vanity but one of true growth.

Balancing the Event With Life


I think there’s something, by nature, in us that makes us want to have a huge sigh of relief once we hit a major goal. I saw that when I finished paying off debt as well as when we were finally able to get serious again about saving for retirement. There was just part of me that wanted to exhale and relax. While this isn’t to say that it’s “bad” to relax and enjoy the moment (as I believe that’s very important and healthy) a right perspective is required.

A way of life dictates decisions we make - even in challenging times. An event can be good to reach, but pointless if the way of life isn't changed with it.

That perspective is one of realizing the mountain you’ve just climbed and that you don’t want to fall down it only to have to climb up the blasted thing again. The kind of perspective that keeps you moving forward is one that sees the next mountaintop and, after proper reflection, makes plans to climb the next mountain.

Do you see the difference? It’s taking ownership as opposed to resting on your laurels.

So, regardless of the goal you’re currently working on – let that event drive you. In many cases it’s a huge event, but remember that it’s the change in mindset – the way of life that makes it stick.


What goal are you currently working on or considering? How long is appropriate, in your opinion, to rest on the accomplishment of the goal? What accomplishment helped you change your life forever?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Looking back at my new year’s resolution, I am glad that I have accomplished most of what I included in the list. Although there have been setbacks, I still take these as challenges so that it pushes me to the limit until I achieve my goals. Accepting this part of life is something I have to deal with and learn from it to become better and fulfilled.

  • I couldn’t agree more! When I decided I was going to eat healthier, that didn’t mean I got to eat a whole pizza one day or a bacon-burger the next just because I had a few good days of eating. It meant from here on out I had to make life choices that would help me achieve my goal, and that included changing my daily habits to get there.

    • Exactly MMD! There are definitely instances where it’s ok or healthy to treat yourself, but giving in completely will only derail what you started working towards in the first place.

  • 94 pounds is amazing John. Congrats! All about changing behaviors and habits for good. Breaking our bad money habits and becoming debt free was a life changer for us.

  • This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. In the past my greatest fear was not achieving goals I’ve made for myself. I’m starting to realize it’s inevitable I will accomplish some goals while others will never be accomplished. I’m okay with that. My new fear is that I’ll be so caught up in our goal-setting and goal-achieving culture (I do think we live in one) that my life will pass by me in the blink of an eye.

  • 94 pounds is such a big accomplishment! Great job! It always seems like those last few pounds are the hardest to drop.

  • I definitely agree with this one John! And I’m very impressed with your improvement!

  • This applies to SO many areas of life, doesn’t it? As I approach 50, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my physical health. My goal is to be stronger and healthier entering my 50’s than I was entering my 40’s. That’s going to mean a consistent lifestyle of exercise, eating well and nurturing myself emotionally and spiritually. But, as you mentioned, it’s a lifestyle thing, not a means to an end. Sure, you can have some detours along the way, like the snicker bar and the mountain dew, but the main roadway has to be one of health and best practices.

    • That it does Laurie – I just wish it didn’t take me so long to get it though. 🙂 It definitely is a lifestyle thing – knowing when it’s ok to allow yourself something you want without throwing everything out the window.

  • Nice work John. 94 pounds is awesome, but I hear you when you want to cross that 100 mark. That’s a huge motivator. My goal is to actually build my business bigger and hopefully more sustainable.

  • Life is about the journey, not the destination, as they say. I never feel like I’m done with anything major, so I keep going with it and make minor adjustments along the way. Like eating healthier. I just take baby steps as I go to work towards living a healthy life. It will probably never really stop evolving.

  • Congrats again on the 94 pounds, but I can see how 100 will be that much sweeter. Our big goal was getting out of credit card debt and then selling the practice. The next one will be paying off some of our mortgages. That one will take a few years because we are not willing to cut everything else just to be mortgage free. I think once something does become a way of life instead of a short term goal, it’s much easier to maintain focus.

    • Thanks Kim! Yea, hitting the 100 pound mark was my original goal and one I really want and plan on hitting. I agree, it does become that much easier to maintain focus – which only helps in reaching the goals you have for yourself.

  • Kalie says:

    Congrats on your success! You’re right, and this is another one of those apt connections between health/weight and personal finance. Being healthy is a lifestyle, and so is being financially wise. It doesn’t matter how much you lose or save unless you can maintain it and enjoy the benefits in the long term.

  • Michelle says:

    Wow great job! 94 is great! You’ll be at 100 in no time.

    My main goal for this year is to be more healthy as well. I just got back from a road trip where I ate very unhealthy, and I’m about to go on another 10 day road trip where there will be more unhealthiness. 🙁

    • Thanks Michelle!

      Yep, road trips can be bad. Though, I’m thankful for having been relatively active on our past few trips so I don’t come back up in weight. 🙂

  • I feel your pain John!! The first 40 pounds of my weight loss journey were “easy” but the last 10 seemed like they would stay on forever. I had to dig deep and push harder, but I am glad that I did. Three years have passed since I made my goal weight and I have put back some pounds; however, I have mostly kept them off and it’s because the whole process changed my behavior for the long term rather than just being a short term fix.

    • Oh, I know! Those first 50 pounds just melted off. Th next 20 or so required a little work and the past 25 or so have required a lot more work. But, I’ve been developing and strengthening new habits over that time so it’ll be worth it in the long run.

  • Jason B says:

    Congrats on losing 94 pounds. My main goal that I’m working on is paying off my debt. I’ve eliminated one so far. If my side hustles continue to grow the 2nd debt could be paid off before August,

  • So proud of your weight loss, John, but I hear you on how tough it is to lose those last 10 pounds! I remember after having the girls that it was always those last few pounds that were so stubborn. I absolutely agree that losing weight, getting out debt and so on is not an event but a way a life and a new improved mindset. I’ve seen so many people yo-yo with their debt, constantly in and out of debt. Good luck on losing those last few pounds. 🙂

    • Thanks Shannon! I know, those last 10 pounds just don’t want to seem to come off – but I know the hard work is just making me appreciate it that much more and crystallize a new mindset.

  • 94 percent is still an A! Maybe not an A+, but who ever cared about that plus anyway?

  • Awesome progress on the weight loss. That’s something to be really proud of. Just keep maintaining once you get there. I suggest finding a new goal, like getting stronger, hitting new PR’s each week. Gives you something to work for once you’ve hit the weight number.

  • If 100 lbs. was the goal then I think you’ve got to stick with it, even though the last bit will be harder. I believe more damage/the greater risk comes from settling for less than from reaching the goal and backsliding a bit. Settle once and you’ll settle again. Reach a goal and backslide and at least you’ll know you could reach the goal again.

    • Completely agreed Brian. I’m not changing the aspect of the goal of the specifics of it, just commenting that while it’s difficult in the home stretch that doesn’t mean you give up once you hit it.

  • This is definitely how I view the process of working towards financial independence. We’ve totally changed our lifestyle in order to get there and, for the most part, they’re changes that we’re making for the rest of our lives.

    In order for it to be sustainable, we’ve found joy in what we do and we certainly consider it to be a long-term, permanent change. It’s not like we’ll hit our goal and then go spend a ton of money the next day :). And, huge congrats to you on losing so much weight–that is absolutely awesome.

    • You hit the nail on the head Mrs. FW. That joy aspect is one that’s easily overlooked I find. We often look at change as something to be fearful of, but when it has a long-term view of a better life it makes it that much sweeter.

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