Healthy Lifestyle Challenge: Death, Taxes and the Pursuit of Happiness

Ellen, Joe and I, along with the rest of the staff at Pavitt Health and Fitness, are delighted to again be a part of the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge.  You could argue, as one wise-acre friend did, that if we had done our job right last year we wouldn't have to be doing it again. That's an amusing idea and I wish making positive changes was that simple.

On the other hand, an experience I had recently drove home to me that, while a particular change may have been difficult in the past, it is always possible. First a little back ground.  I love health and fitness.  I am less enamored with paper work, especially relating to our taxes.  

I know that procrastination only makes tasks more difficult, so every year I vow to have my paperwork to our accountant by the end of January. Every year April rolls around and she has to file an extension for us and I end up getting her what she needs just in time to meet the October deadline.

Just like the smoker who has to try and quit a number of times before it sticks, however, I never give up hope that I can do better next time. Well, guess what? This year I actually pulled it off and got my tax work to my CPA on January 17!  

I'd like to believe that my procrastinating days are over and it's going to be like this from now on. Realistically, I know that old habits die hard and new ones can be hard to establish. Just as realistically, I know that striving to do better than we did in the past, not perfectly mind you, is part of our human uniqueness and is always possible.

How about you? Is there anything that you worked on last year that stuck, even a little bit?  It's okay whether it did or not.  Congratulations on having made the effort.  Obviously, though, it is important to you if you made a challenge to yourself.  With the beginning of the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, this is a good time to look at how we would like things to be and to see if we can spend more time and energy in that reality. 

A couple of things I like about this challenge are that you don't need to chase perfection and that every week is a new start.  A lot of times people think they failed at a resolution because they are no longer abstaining completely from something or doing something every day.  The truth is if you are drinking less soda than you were a year ago or going to the gym a little more often, you're going in the right direction and your efforts have not been for naught.

The pursuit of perfection is definitely the death of action and the number one reason we so often give up on self improvement projects that we do manage to start.  I know that I'm not going to be perfect in the future in regards to my taxes (or anything else, for that matter) but that's not going to stop me from trying to procrastinate less and be more timely.

I hope that you find this year's Healthy Lifestyle Challenge helpful and find something you'd like to work on.  Have fun with it and look at each week as a fresh start.  And remember, if I can do my taxes in January, who knows what you might accomplish this year?


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