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Why’s it so hard for us to make the right long-term moves?

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I have a pretty big backyard in my San Francisco apartment, so I recently threw a party. I ended up having a bunch of leftover food, including a huge watermelon. I love watermelon, so I left it sitting in a plastic bag in the corner of my kitchen, where it sat…

…and sat…and sat. I just never got around to cutting it up or throwing it out.

A long time later, I walked in to my kitchen and saw a ton of liquid sitting on the floor. It smelled like alcohol. My first sub-conscious thought, “Sweet, who bought me free alcohol?” which says a lot about me. But then, my mood darkened. As I traced the confusing sitting liquid back to its source, I realized it was coming from the watermelon. But how can a watermelon have so much liquid in it? Isn’t it…just a watermelon? Ohh…it’s a water melon.

Apparently watermelons liquify and turn into some kind of alcohol-smelling liquid after you let them sit for 5 MONTHS. Who knew?

I’m not lazy. I’m not stupid. So why couldn’t I get around to picking that watermelon up and throwing it in the garbage?

Does it have anything to do with barriers?

More generally, why is it so hard for us to do what we know is best in the long-term? For example…

  • Working out even 30 minutes/day
  • Setting up an automated system to manage our money
  • Calling friends and family consistently

You don’t usually see other money-related sites talking about this. Instead, they simply use a battering ram to shove the idea of “just do it” or “try harder” down your throat…with predictable results.

Let’s get specific.

What’s ONE area of life where you “should” be doing something that would benefit you in the long term…but you’re not?

Why is that?

Leave a comment below. Let’s see what we can figure out together.

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89 Comments on "Why’s it so hard for us to make the right long-term moves?"

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David
David
4 years 10 months ago

Everyone has things they don’t consider for the long-term because there are infinite things we can do that will help us long-term. Unfortunately there is a finite amount of time to do these things. Naturally, we will gravitate towards accomplishing the long-term goals we care about the most. Those we care about the least (e.g. Watermelon), will fall by the wayside.

That being said:
* Finding a woman to marry. (Reason: There are limited quality options: living in the Silicon Valley, as well as limited time to find women: living in the Silicon Valley)

Jen
Jen
4 years 10 months ago
I agree, and I would add, “we often make excuses because we don’t want to be judged for making the ‘wrong’ choice.” I made a comment about wanting to change from Bank of America. The main reason I want to? Because many of my friends and people I admire hate the big banks and I don’t want to feel like a lazy jerk who supports The Man. If I look at it honestly, my feeling is, “I just don’t care about making 0.25% of interest or sticking it to the big banks that much if it means screwing with my… Read more »
Nick Thacker
4 years 10 months ago
Ramit, great post. I’ve had too many similar experiences with a sack of potatoes, a brown bag of bananas, and a pumpkin that “melted” on my hardwood floor… Anyway, my thing is (besides leaving vegetables and fruits to die) is building a blog. More specifically, building a passive-income machine. I’ve read, read, and read some more, and I feel like I could teach a class on building an income-generating website, but I have yet to really put those strategies into practice. Not really sure why–I’ve done little pieces, like started writing posts and articles, but just not enough. I’ve started… Read more »
Nick
Nick
4 years 10 months ago

Getting an annual physical to catch and deal with any medical concerns before they become medical problems.

Getting an annual physical will save you time down road, and money, too.
Nick

A-ron
A-ron
4 years 10 months ago
I’m fat. I mean, I’ve let myself get fat. Like your watermelon, I just let myself go, eating what I want, until the pain of continuing to gain weight outweighs the pain of doing something about it (i.e. changing my habits). I think the reason for this, one of the reasons, has something to do with black and white thinking; I’m either living a “healthy” lifestyle (eating right, exercising, etc) or I’m not (sitting on the couch eating ice cream and pizza and watching TV). How do I get to the point of accepting levels of grey, and bouncing back… Read more »
Derek
Derek
4 years 10 months ago
I find that living in the grey actually HELPS me change my habits. For me, a big hurdle(s) is that the pain is not significant enough to warrant the change and I have to also combat a sense of “loss” for having to give up something that I enjoy (even if it is bad for me). Running with the “moderation in everything” motto, I’ve found it easier to begin incorporating small changes without having to give up my former behaviors completely. In the case of diet, tons of recent studies show that planned overeating is actually SUPPORTS fat loss. I’ve… Read more »
Geoffrey Williams
Geoffrey Williams
4 years 10 months ago
Talking to clients is a big one for me! Basically I know in order for my freelancing to work I need to start pitching people often and in my work clients like to see a face instead of endless email with a stranger. I KNOW THIS but I still find it excruciating hard to get out of my car and talk to clients. I’m not socially awkward at all, but when I know its a freelance pitch that I’m about to do then all the barriers start popping in my head. “I need gas first”, “oops forgot to eat, better… Read more »
James
4 years 10 months ago
Failing to learn Spanish this year – I do have the excuse that I’m in Hong Kong, but that’s not very useful thinking if I’m going to be in South America in five years’ time. A-ron: Losing weight is “easy”, just like saving money is “easy” – in both cases there’s a plethora of tools on the internet to help you. If you’re fluctuating between binge and bust, you haven’t inculcated strong enough habits to stop. I found it fairly easy, but I did have a few steps to go through: 1. Weigh myself every day. Feel bad if it… Read more »
Jessica
Jessica
4 years 10 months ago
My husband laughs at me for weighing myself every day but I’ve found that it’s more motivating and keeps me honest every day whereas if I weighed myself once a week, I’d likely slack off the first 3-4 days of the week and then try to be REALLY strict the last couple knowing the weigh-in was coming. I had a nice “I told you so” yesterday when I weighed in and was at my pre-pregnancy weight. It’s hard to deny the reality of your weight when it’s in your face every morning. (Yes, I know weight isn’t ALL you should… Read more »
Doug
Doug
4 years 10 months ago
Lots of minor health issues. I have been holding at about 20 lbs above my “comfortable” weight and about 30 lbs above my “ideal” weight for a couple of years. I exercise 3-5 times a week, and track calories off and on, but lately, I can’t seem to force the pounds off. I just recently gave in to ravenous hunger and ate a PB&J sandwich. Terrible? No. But not what I really needed to do to achieve my weight loss goal, either. And sleep. I should have turned in an hour ago to get a good night’s sleep. But here… Read more »
dave lawton
4 years 10 months ago

I think you just answered the question right here “why is it so hard for us to do what we know is best in the long-term?” the answer is that it’s not best in the short-term! We have other better things to do with our time right now, or we rationalize it that way. Sometimes it is better I think to live in the moment, not be constantly doing things for the future, but sometimes not. It’s all about balance 🙂

Rob Ward
4 years 10 months ago

” “why is it so hard for us to do what we know is best in the long-term?” the answer is that it’s not best in the short-term!” ”

that is so true

Joanna
Joanna
4 years 10 months ago

studying a new language. Every day. For 10-15min, 30max.

Whitney
4 years 10 months ago

Going out and making new, close friends. I’m all out of the old ones.

Eric S. Mueller
4 years 10 months ago

I have a whole bunch of emails from you from the free courses you sent out. I think some are Earn1k (July 2009) and the others are from this January. I keep telling myself I want to get the most I possibly can out of the, but every time I go to read one, I tell myself something like “I didn’t get enough sleep; I can’t concentrate” or “I have too much on my mind”. So I keep putting them off. I don’t want to read them and not do anything with them.

Dirk
4 years 10 months ago

Hey Eric,
as you’ve become quite famous by Ramits email today 😉 I thought I’m gonna look it up. That’s pretty darn interesting!
On my coaching-playground-blog I’m right now running a little exercise how to quickly overcome resistance and have been looking for volunteers to try it. If you or anyone else here is interested have a look at my blog. I’m willing to try it with 5 extra people from here for free. Just mention Ramit or iwillteachyoutoberich if you’d like to apply for that.
Dirk

Melinda
Melinda
4 years 10 months ago

I should do two things: go to the doctor for a physical and lose weight. Why don’t I do these things? I don’t go to the doctor because I’m overweight and I know they’ll tell me this and say, “Lose weight.” Duh. And I love to bake. I think that if I lose weight, I can’t bake anything, which means no fun, and ’tis the season for baking! So I think I lose the fun factor if I lose weight, not thinking of other fun factors, like cute clothes.

Sebastian Rubin
4 years 10 months ago
Failing to wake up consistently at the same time. Things have improved alot since my girlfriend started working, but I still jump back and forth between 7am and 9h30 and everything inbetween, depending on my schedule for the day (and night before 😉 ). I’ve noticed I feel the best when I wake up at 7.30 after about 7h sleep, followed by a short workout. But I simply cannot bring myself to just set the damn alarm clock and stop adjusting it fifteen minutes back or forth every damn day… This would also make it alot easier to consistently work… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 10 months ago

I go to the Doctor for regular checks (the chick one and regular) but I never consistently take my Calcium pill. I need to take this to counter act the steroid medicine I take daily. My barrier is laziness and resentment at taking ANOTHER pill.

Jen
Jen
4 years 10 months ago
Moving my money from Bank of America to one of two awesome local banks. I even have a plan to do it slowly, and I’m still like, “NOES CANNOT DO, SCARED.” Mostly I’m scared that I’ll somehow miss an auto-payment and get stuck in fee purgatory and/or that B of A will then screw with my credit cards with them — which have been open for over 10 years, are up-to-date on payments, are both rewards cards, have healthy credit limits and are generally the bright spot on my credit report. Also I just feel like it would be inconvenient… Read more »
Stephen
Stephen
4 years 10 months ago
Along with many of the previous commenters, I should be going to the doctor more regularly. I have two reasons for not doing this. First, is picking out a doctor and scheduling an appointment. Second, is that I don’t want to give a sense of distrust to my boss and coworkers. I work at a job where someone leaves every 6 months to a year, and they use doctor appointments and sick days as an excuse for job interviews. Nobody really cares about this, yet I have a weird sense of guilt and untrustworthiness associated with doctor appointments. (I don’t… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
4 years 10 months ago
When we fail to do what we should our response is often to project blame onto other people or things, and thus avoid taking responsibility for our inaction. “I’m not able to ___ because ____ is [lame excuse]” For example: I’m not able to loose weight because my office is always full of donuts and candy. I’m not able to get enough sleep because Conan is on late. I’m not able to learn Chinese because my social sphere is made up of only English speakers. Instead of focusing on the lame excuse and letting that stop you, we need to… Read more »
Gimena
Gimena
4 years 10 months ago

I watch too much TV everyday, maybe 3 hours or so. I know that I should spend some time reading, cleaning/organizing, blogging, and working on developing skills that I can use to earn income on the side.

ccq
ccq
4 years 10 months ago
i feel your resentment. i was diagnosed with some benign sounding imbalances and assigned another pill, i’m like what? why? i don’t want to take more medicine FROM THE MAN (despite possible cancer prevention….. sigh) i have not been active in calling up new clients and promoting to them, but i let myself slide because i’m working on lots of new paintings to show them…. so boo for not marketing but yay for producing new work. i ran into a an old classmate this weekend who mentioned she never even uses her art supplies anymore, which was surprising- i figured… Read more »
Sam
Sam
4 years 10 months ago

Making 75K working as a faculty in a university. I know I can make much more than that if I move to industry or switch to other alternate career options that are readily available to me. But can’t make the switch. Don’t want to change many things. Leave city, ask wife to leave job that pays much more than me at this point and then look for it in new city, sale house, new school for kids. Too many barriers or is just one

Parasaur
Parasaur
4 years 10 months ago
Your watermelon story is why I cut up all of our large fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe) immediately after I bring it home. It is amazing how much fresh fruit we eat when its already cut up and in tupperware containers! Of course, I do have a moldy piece of corn from a month ago, so we’re not perfect 😉 One issue we struggle with is incremental cleaning of the house. We’re often busy at nights (excuse!), and can be gone every single weekend in a month (another excuse!), so house cleaning ends up being a full-day affair once every few months,… Read more »
Laura in Cancun
4 years 10 months ago

Agree 100% with the fruit! I often set aside 1 night a week to spend an hour or two in the kitchen prepping… I cut fruit, cut up ingredients for quesadillas, etc etc. It keeps my fruit from going bad and keeps me from eating ramen noodles every night 🙂

Sunil from The Extra Money Blog
4 years 10 months ago

interesting post that made me think hard. there are areas that need more focus / improvement, but it’s not that i am not aware of it, it’s just that i have made a conscious decision to pursue something else in turn. everyone has the same amount of time, how we choose to use it differs widely, which dictates the results we get in each field/aspect. if one has clarity/awareness of it, one can switch gears at any point.

Paris Hunter
Paris Hunter
4 years 10 months ago
I had a self reflection yesterday. In it I discovered something about me and brought it to my conscious mind) ‘Finish or be finished’ I start a lot of projects, ideas,etc but never get around to executing them or finishing them. I realized I cant go on like this. A portfolio of 10 half finished ideas is a portfolio of none. A portfolio of 10 poor quality ideas/projects is still a portfolio of 10 ideas/projects. Solution I am now scheduling time to finish one project a day (resume, powerpoint, customer mind map,etc). I can edit when I am done. This… Read more »
Peter
4 years 10 months ago
The ONE area that I “should” be doing more in is eating healthier. What you eat affects so many other areas of your life that improvements in this area can have a large impact in other areas. I currently eat decently, but I eat way too many processed carbohydrates and drink more sodas than I would like. Why? I think it has too do a lot with environment and habits. For example, on environment, I almost never eat candy but after Halloween we had a bunch of snack sized candy bars left over. I have probably eaten more candy bars… Read more »
Jesse
4 years 10 months ago

I want to take the steps toward living a more meaningful life. However, each day after my 9-5, it’s much easier to escape into a vice than actually do anything that will benefit me down the road. The vice helps me cope, but only for one more day. It’s a disgusting process that keeps repeating itself.

o
o
4 years 10 months ago
Here’s one I’ve used successfully–Lets say you want to paint your living room. You’ve picked a color, bought paint, and already have the tools, but you are just not able to get motivated to carve out the time, pull the furniture away from the walls, remove the outlet covers, and get started. Next time you have 15 minutes (instead of the hours you need to finish the job), get out your jar of spackle and patch some nail holes. This will get you started but the key is that you will now have a bunch of white patches all over… Read more »
Rahul
Rahul
4 years 10 months ago

1) Figuring out stuff 2) Tracking

Figuring things out has been a problem because of my rural background. I know I will perform great when I am at school where I get taught, but to teach myself stuff is my biggest hurdle.

Tracking can be anything. It could be money and budgeting or tracking the results of experiments I read about psychology, negotiation and the like.

The only upside is I just started taking baby steps. I have wait and see.

robert moseley
robert moseley
4 years 10 months ago
My overall diet. I know I should use a 30-day dinner plan, I’ve even gone as far as to pick all 30 recipes, but I haven’t committed those recipes to a shopping list, so I keep falling back on the same two or three things we eat every… single… time… or more likely picking up dinner which is really not wise for the waist or wallet. I’m not strapped for cash, however ordering dinner 20 nights a month is equal to the cost of the new asus tablet I’m going to get. Over the season length, those 20 dinner pickups… Read more »
Nic
Nic
4 years 10 months ago

A 30 dinner plan is too huge ! My husband and I do it a week at a time, even that is a lot some weeks, but just pick 6 or 7 meals off your monthly plan and rotate it – after all, you are used to the same foods now, 7 of the same meals shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to get used to.

Rob
4 years 10 months ago
I have quite a few, but two notables: practicing my developer skills more (I’m learning), and keeping in contact with friends. I think the way most people approach this sort of problem is to try to exercise their willpower to overcome their resistance to doing the tasks, or to maintaining the task over time. This rarely works. Willpower is in actually rather weak. I think what’s far more important is setting/finding a supporting environment (or example, if you want to quite smoking, don’t hang with smokers), slowly building the right mindset through small actions, developing simple systems that work with… Read more »
G
G
4 years 10 months ago

I think late teens early 20’s, you JUST DO IT. As you age, you start carrying metal baggage about everything, then from there even a simple task becomes a ‘mind fuck’.

You have to mind fuck yourself on a daily basis because now your mature and experienced and knowledgeable. When you were young and stupid, you JUST DID IT.

Kitten
Kitten
4 years 10 months ago
I’m ashamed to admit it, I’m usually financially responsible, but the one long-term thing I’ve been putting off for far too long is my 401k at my current job. In past jobs, the 401k was usually a “Pick a type” plan, and then the specifics would be selected for you. But with this one, they hand us a brochure and ask us to pick our own stocks… And I have no experience with stocks, no idea how to choose, and every time I’ve tried to set it up, the overwhelming amount of confusing (to me) information just makes me throw… Read more »
Lauren
Lauren
4 years 10 months ago
The most important one area of life where I “should” be doing that something that would benefit me in the long term but I’m not is: Setting up an automated system to manage my money. Why is that? I think its because of certain mental barriers I’m battling: mainly impatience – it’s not best in the short-term! I have better things to do with my time right now and life is short, or I rationalize it that way. Sometimes I think it’s better to live in the moment, not be constantly doing things for the future – looking at the… Read more »
A.M.
A.M.
4 years 10 months ago

Honestly? Relaxing. I feel like I’m always doing everything “right” (financially, goal setting, health, cleaning, eating well) but I still beat myself up over any missed work out or bad day or not taking out the recycling or buying a pair of shoes for myself. So much guilt!

Why? I guess because I’m a perfectionist and feel like when I relax or do something for myself, people will view it as weakness, because that’s how I view it toward myself.

Frankie
4 years 10 months ago

I graduated in May, but am still hunting for the job I really want. I decided it was more important to me not to sell out for money. I have a part-time job that is bringing in some money in the meantime; however, my focus is finding a job that I really want that will put me on the path towards my long-term goals.

Glossy
Glossy
4 years 10 months ago
I’ve adopted your “take action” approach to a few things in my life recently and have been moving slowly from thinking to doing. Often half-assed, toe-in-the-water and uncertain of direction but I’ve been getting closer to the other side of this forest by stumbling blindly through than I ever had looking at a thousand maps. I lost 5 pounds in 1 week by poorly attempting things from Tim Ferris’ 4HB. That is 5 pounds more than I ever lost reading about getting fit. I have a bank appointment next week to increase my line of credit and move all credit… Read more »
Theo
Theo
4 years 10 months ago

Work.

I am clever enough to learn a marketable skill and make money.

I just can’t get myself to focus on anything. I go from one unimportant task to the other and never get the essential done.

Naomi
Naomi
4 years 10 months ago

Hmmm. I would say….putting money in an investment account. I put 10K in a bonds account in my bank (a start) but I really need to set up a proper investment account like you wrote about in your book.

Just a case of getting A into G and doing it.

Susan
4 years 10 months ago

I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant. Doing most things these days feels like a barrier – finishing baby room, baby laundry, setting up her college 529, minding my own retirement accounts, trying to find new freelance work, pregnancy yoga, doctor’s appointments… it’s just so much. I feel a lack of control. I want to get to a point I can be more focused and organized but feel I’ll never quite get a handle on it all.

Stacy McKenna
Stacy McKenna
4 years 10 months ago
Dental hygiene. Genetic predispositions and lacking home care have resulted in lots of expensive and painful dentist visits, despite regular checkups. Its BORING. It’s not “cool” (how many people get up from a dinner and go brush their teeth? How many kids ever brushed after lunch at school?) It’s harder to fit into my default routines – by the time it would be logical to brush my teeth, I have to make an entire trip to the bathroom to do it (my morning routine in particular is set up to minimize distance traveled – it satisfies my “efficiency” tick, and… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
4 years 10 months ago

For me, its working towards finding my dream job. I keep putting it off by telling myself that I need to pay off my student loans first or there isn’t jobs in the area I want to work. I find it weird that as a teen I would do anything balls to the walls, but now that I’m 26 I find lame excuses to put off bettering myself in the long term.

archie
archie
4 years 10 months ago

Doing your liviing trust & finsihing your tax return asap is a must in the long run.

Pia
Pia
4 years 10 months ago

Exercising.

I always think I should go jogging, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in this world that’s going to get me to go. So I have to find some other way. OK so I did 30 sit-ups this morning. It’s a start. Not much of one maybe, but a start.

I need to start doing small things that only take a few minutes each and let them all add up. Small steps work.

R
R
4 years 10 months ago
After working long hours, fighting useless meetings, losing control of what I teach, I signed up for earn1k. After some hard work and some risk, I work for myself and earn more in a morning than what I used to make in a day. I have MUCH more free time and won my latest round of negotiations (I got the increase I asked for). This is not always an easy feat in Beijing. Now, I want to start a product based business (a la 4-Hour-Workweek), but I feel a bit lost. I have identified ideas, skills, and problems on paper,… Read more »
wong
wong
4 years 10 months ago
I just graduated from university. I have an engineering job that’s OK, but I have to live in a town that I don’t like. My long-term goal is to live in the downtown area of a beautiful, expensive, coastal city, and to earn enough money to power that lifestyle sustainably. I “should” really find out whether or not engineering will let me live in such a city and earn such an income. If not, then I “should” find another field to work in. I “should” really do this before I get stuck in engineering for good. I’m not doing this… Read more »
CL
CL
4 years 10 months ago
Go out and submit your resume to a job posting in a city that you’d like to live in. Even if it doesn’t do anything, you will have made the first step towards your goal. My sister’s boyfriend is an engineer who was unsatisfied with living in the wilds of Kentucky with a decent but not fantastic salary. He got two other job offers and one of them was in his hometown, where his parents still live. He put in his two weeks notice and his company, a Fortune 100 company, fell over itself to create a management position for… Read more »
JP
JP
4 years 10 months ago

Studying for the GMAT and applying to business school. I’ve even signed up for Manhattan GMAT last summer and missed half the classes. I have no excuses.

Pam
Pam
4 years 10 months ago
I used to have a three-tiered to-do list in Excel that I referred to daily for the last year or so: work tasks, daytime non-work tasks, and evening tasks. The problem is that everything on it started to feel like a chore, even something simple I wrote such as “clean up living room”. If it was on the list, it became LESS likely I’d follow through because procrastination seemed to grow just by a task existing on the burdensome list. So I’ve (just this week) stopped obsessing over the list and only write down things I may forget that have… Read more »
Pam
Pam
4 years 10 months ago

Another reason we don’t do the BIG things might be because deep down we think all our effort will not lead to success…or maybe we just don’t want it badly enough.

Sometimes a watermelon is just a watermelon…throwing it out wouldn’t change your life, so you just let it slide. No harm no foul—except for the alcohol smell, which is weird.

Elvin
Elvin
4 years 10 months ago
Ramit, I find that people rarely change because they want to but because they have to. I learned this after a great relationship ended. It’s the same reason I won’t write a paper until the day before its due. I’ve started forcing myself to do small things, ie throw out the watermelon, to try and change this behavior and it seems to be helping. When I don’t want to do something that would literally take 2 minutes or less I ask myself why. If my answer is because I don’t want to, I’m comfortable etc I do it. Actaullt seems… Read more »
Bill
Bill
4 years 10 months ago

Finishing. I have countless projects in partial stages of completion. I prefer to not do the hard work in the middle that will get you to the end. For instance, I’m working part-time for a startup (already a red flag, I know), and I keep getting features/projects launched, but never see them through to the bitter end).

Jody
Jody
4 years 10 months ago
Doing Earn1k. DEFINITELY. I bought it at full price, telling myself “hey, it’s cheapest outright, and I know that if I don’t do it now, I’ll kick myself. So I’ll get it, and have it when I want it.” One, dumb. Having quality on your shelf and not using it? Dumb. Two, I bought the book, my finances are automated, I have no debt, I did everything in the damn book… but I never get around to getting past the second module (2.2?) of Earn1k. I had three paying clients. I loved it. They were all one-time gigs. Then I… Read more »
Gaby
Gaby
4 years 10 months ago
First time poster, here. Hello! My first reaction to this post, was COMMITMENT. ((my apologies if this is redundant, I didn’t read all of the posts and comments)) I work crazy hours (Days + Nights). A few years ago moved 20 minutes away from work. The commute is definitely not terrible, but its easily the thing I complain about the most. Its also the easiest thing for me to change. My lease is MONTH-TO-MONTH! I could move back to town whenever I want, but I don’t. And I’m in my 3rd year at my apartment. With boxes I haven’t unpacked… Read more »
Rob Ward
4 years 10 months ago
Ramit, This is hilarious because my wife and I do the exact same thing with our food scraps, which we compost (BTW, it has nothing to do with “saving” a few extra dollars…we just like to have some compost for our garden). It will sit on our kitchen counter for days, until finally it has piled up to an uncontrollable level and starts to smell. THEN we finally take it out. It’s not as if it is difficult for us to pick up the box, walk outside for a minute, and dump it out. There are just way more other… Read more »
Justin
Justin
4 years 10 months ago

I’m 25 and I know I should be saving for retirement-I do contribute to my 401k at work and the company matches, but I make just enough money to pay my rent and bills. But honestly, I think if I were to open a retirement account and pay $100 I could force myself to do it and make due with whatever money I have left over.

MC
MC
4 years 10 months ago

I should improve my job skills, but I am paralyzed by what to learn, how to learn it, and how exactly I’d benefit. I should exercise regularly, but I am afraid to start.

Sheridan
4 years 10 months ago

You’re lucky it was half a watermelon. My ex-wife and I discovered that if you do this same thing with an uncut watermelon, after a few weeks (months?) it will actually explode!

Lee
4 years 10 months ago
One pretty important thing is home maintenance. I’m not a handyman by any means, but feel good when I am able to fix something. But there are a million things that need to be evaluated and maintained so that they don’t need fixing. A bath tub drips, but it’s not bad enough to be costing me a lot on my water bill. Some of the eaves on my house are warped and allow insects to live in my attic. My gutters are full of pine needles. My furnace is probably close to going out. Etc, etc. There are plenty of… Read more »
Ben
Ben
4 years 10 months ago
Humans are horrible at gauging risks, investment, and reward. Not exercising or eating right is a huge risk, but because when we do it we don’t see immediate signs of improvement, we associate it with a huge expenditure of effort for no reward. This happens at the Pavlovian level, not a conscious one. Then we emotionally dread getting up to do those things even though we know consciously that we should. This applies to everything from working out to starting a 401k to calling your grandma to changing your passwords. Working out is moderately enjoyable. It’s not painful at all.… Read more »
Justin
Justin
4 years 10 months ago

I like going to the gym because it gives me at least 20 min uninterrupted reading time – I read my kindle on the elliptical. I suppose this is my reward which you discuss above.

As for automating your eating habits, I try to cook enough food in one day to last me a week so that all I have to do when I come home is through it in the microwave.

Mike
Mike
4 years 10 months ago
I think some barriers are there because we don’t know or can’t visualize what the next step should be (probably because we don’t know what we really want to *do* with that watermelon — eat it or throw it out?), our brains have skipped ahead several steps and imagined a mountain of work where there are probably a molehill of steps, inertia (the payoff for procrastination is always NOW), and probably a zillion others I haven’t thought of. One thing I could be doing right now that would benefit me in the long term is starting a side-business; it could… Read more »
Laura
Laura
4 years 10 months ago
What a great subject matter! My barriers are the same as everyone else’s: 1. My short term goals outweigh my long term goals (IOW: I don’t “want” it bad enough or the pain of not accomplishing the task isn’t bad enough yet) 2. I hate the task itself so I put off doing it in lieu of doing the tasks I do like or get immediate gratification for doing.  3. The task is so complicated that i get overwhelmed and am unable to break it down into simple steps. 4. I’m overwhelmed and even though I may like the task… Read more »
Justin B
Justin B
4 years 10 months ago
I have a small retail business that grows two ways, first by adding more customers, and second by forming a team. I know this, I do it occasionally and I’m good at it, I just don’t do it with any consistency. I’ve even downloaded the Habit Lite app on my iPhone to help organize my goals and their habits, but I don’t check the app, Facebook/Twitter sure, text messages/email sure, but no habit app. This is pretty frustrating too, the things I do aren’t moving me towards a future I want, and the things I don’t do would, I know… Read more »
Kristoffer
Kristoffer
4 years 10 months ago
I used to run an active online (ebay) business making decent extra income for myself. During the holidays I would make 3x as much as I did at my ‘real’ job. At some point I lost my interest in taking the time to find new stuff to sell, taking photos, listing etc so I quit doing it. Problem is I probably have tons of stock sitting around my house that I need to sell. It’s crazy that I have 20-30 grand worth of stuff just sitting here – but I can’t seem to ‘gear’ myself up to do anything with… Read more »
Jason
Jason
4 years 10 months ago
That alcohol smell? That was alcohol. You just successfully fermented a watermelon (explosions or other rind-rupturing events caused by a build up of CO2 as a by-product of the fermentation). If you were lucky, the yeast got to it before any bad bacteria and the resulting alcohol protected it against infection. Lucky in the sense that while you were left with a sticky mess, it would be a sticky mess of stuff that was entirely food grade material, rather than something that could make you sick. As for your question, I’m over scheduled for stuff that I “should” be doing.… Read more »
Adrien
Adrien
4 years 10 months ago
One thing I struggled doing was my housecleaning and housekeeping. I would usually procrastinate and complain of having to do it. It all changed after a 3 day stay at friends. Their house is spotless and could be featured in any high-end interior design magazine.Living with them, I realized that all day long, they would do a little bit of housecleaning/housekeeping as soon as the need appeared. They would not lament over it but simply do it on the spot without even thinking about it. This is what tipped me over and I’ve been doing the same thing for more… Read more »
Bradley
Bradley
4 years 10 months ago
As a high school student (grade 12), I think a lot about my future career (fashion) and the steps I need to take to get there. My one problem is that I don’t spend enough time doing the work I know that I should do; anything from industry research or reading to sewing. I think the reason for this is because I am afraid of failure even though I know that there is always something to be learned from a mistake. This seems to be a common issue, in that most people don’t want to get nothing in return for… Read more »
jedilost
4 years 10 months ago
I think it has got to with your priority list. A watermelon in your fridge never becomes the first priority so you keep it until it decays because you even forget that you put it there. I have to-do list and try to stick with it. When something new comes to mind which seems a good try, i just add it to the list and don’t touch it untill it is its turn. Things go slower sometimes but at least, i make sure that i do everything i intended to do, or sometimes completley skip it because it doesn’t seem… Read more »
NS
NS
4 years 10 months ago
I’m a person who wants to exercise more, but has a hard time keeping up with even a simple walking routine. I’ve tried planning a walking schedule in advancef and buying an electronic walking stepmeter to maintain motivation, but neither tactics worked. Now I realize that “smoothing the path” is one of the solutions to this barrier. Recently, I read something interesting by Dr. Weil in one of his recent articles. He mentioned that he’s a fan of integrative exercise, meaning getting your exercise done during other tasks, because this way it’s easier to start and to stick with, as… Read more »
Adrien
Adrien
4 years 10 months ago

I refrained many times sharing tips here as I don’t think this alone will be the solution to anyone’s problem but as lots of people want to integrate exercises in their daily routine: look-up the 5BX plan. It’s free, you don’t need equipment, you can track your progress and quickly see small wins plus it’s an 11-minute routine. I do it every morning before showering; come-on, who cannot find 10 minutes in their day?!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5BX read the warnings in the history part and the pdf can be downloaded in the external links.

KC
KC
4 years 10 months ago

Yes, out of unlimited choices EVERY day how do we decide to say yes to one thing and then NO to everything else… Either we make choices or eventually it will be made for us! For example I have several great ideas for products using years of experience and knowledge but I keep waiting…and waiting for? who knows what…Just Do It! sounds great and is a great reminder. Now I will go exercise and start my amazing life altering back pain reliving product!!!!!!!! Have a great day & remember to enJoy as much as possible!!!!

Doka
4 years 10 months ago
Sending job applications consistently. At first, it was fear of wasting my time because I didn’t understand how to write a winning resume. I bought this one guy’s service (sorry Ramit, your Dream Job Elite was closed!) and learned some great tips a few nights ago. I sent maybe 3 resumes. It took 1 – 2 hours to edit each resume. That’s a lot of time… And I felt so overwhelmed with immediate things that I haven’t been working on it. I’ve also been working to get tutoring clients with no success. Just lack of success so far makes me… Read more »
Adrien
Adrien
4 years 10 months ago

Hey Doka,

So how are you doing on your commitment? Have you been able to wake up more early 3 x/week or was it too much of a hassle to start with? I’m curious to know what others do once we hit a wall (ex: being too tired and simply not waking up early once).

Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 10 months ago
The two main things I am NOT doing right now are: – completing my course work to finish my degree – I was on the right path.. and then I fell off.. This is what happens to me EVERY time.. and it’s why I’m 27 and haven’t finished a degree, but have started multiple programs! – exercising. At all. I was doing great but got sidelined with an injury and haven’t got back into the swing of it in the 4 months or so I’ve been given the go-ahead to start working out again. I need to stop being so… Read more »
Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years 9 months ago

Study/take my Series 7 exam. I need to get registerd for my new job but I am finding it hard to stay motivated and keep a schedule. I am full of excuses; I am up at 4am for work everyday, my commute is 45 min, I need my sleep so in bed by 9pm, single mom so when I get home at 3:30pm there is dinner plus the daily parenting stuff….by then I am getting ready for the next day and exhausted.

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