What My GPS Watch Taught Me About Financial Accountability
I excitedly wrapped my GPS watch around my wrist, laced up my shoes and took off on my morning run. I periodically looked at the watch which told me exactly how far I had run, how long I had been running, and what my current and average pace was. There’s an intersection at approximately mile 3 of my four mile route where sometimes I stop and walk for a minute or two depending upon how I’m feeling. That morning was no exception, and as I crossed the intersection I thought about slowing down.
I glanced at my watch and saw that I had been running at a sub 9 minute mile pace. I thought about how a few minutes of walking would affect my overall pace. I thought about the dip in the speed graph that would be displayed on the screen when I downloaded my run information to my computer. I had seen that dip on the data displayed from a previous run and I didn’t want to see it today. The urge to slow down instantly disappeared, and I finished my run strong.
It’s amazing how physically seeing the effects of your behavior can influence your decisions.
My example is exactly the reason why I track my spending. For each budget cycle, which lasts half the month, my wife and I make a spending plan breaking down our expenditures into categories. I enter our spending plan into a spreadsheet, then at the end of each week I enter the actual amount spent in each category.
The two numbers for each category tells a story about our lifestyle. If the money spent on groceries is consistently above our projected amount, then either we need to clamp down on how we shop, or allocate a larger amount each week. If the spreadsheet shows a huge overage in eating out at restaurants, maybe that will make think twice about going out to our favorite steakhouse and just stay home instead.
Having a record of your behavior staring back at you not only tells you a history of what you’ve done, but forces you to think about whether you’re satisfied with the outcome. If you’re happy, keep on keepin’ on. If you’re not, next time just keep running.
Brought to you courtesy of Brock