Life is all about compromise. In almost everyday situation we come across, we have to trade one item off for another. For example, when I buy cream cheese, I usually go for the lower priced version rather than the much more well known Philadelphia. Why? Because I think the taste is identical and I get to save money at the same time too.
However, if I'm buying that delicious yeast spread for my toast, I always, always, always get the real Marmite. All of the others I've tried, especially in this part of the world, aren't quite the same.
I'm trading off the price of the goods for the taste. Usually I'll go for the cheaper option but in this case, there is no comparison, it has to be the original. I consider this to be a trade-off I am willing to take.
It's a Trade Off
Every single day, we're forced to trade something off against something else. Yes, you can go out for lunch with your co-workers every day but then you wouldn't be saving as much as if you'd brown-bagged your sandwiches before you left in the morning. Of course, you don't want to cut it out completely either since there wouldn't be any fun in that at all. It's a compromise.
It's the same with anything. You can take that expensive holiday abroad and enjoy it for 10-14 days, or you can choose to invest that money and spend 3-6 months there in 20 years time. By that stage in your life, you're probably more financially sound and more importantly you also have more time too (you're not still working in 20 years are you?).
Of course, you never know if you'll still be able to do that in 20 years time but that's not a big worry since you've already decided in your own mind what is important to you now. What is important to me now is my future lifestyle in 7 years time when I can semi-retire. If by then I want to go travelling, eat out every day or buy those large squidgy Marmite jars, then I'll do that - I'll do whatever is important to me then.
Choose Your Way of Life
Your future therefore is determined by the choices you make now. By deciding that your future is the most important thing for you, you should do everything you possibly can to make that turn out for the best.
If you have children, you might decide that they're the most important things to you, so again you should do everything you possibly can to make that turn out for the best too. You may decide the environment is your thing, in which case, give it a high priority in your life.
No matter what you decide, by channeling a lot of your energy into that area of your life, you'll be handsomely rewarded further down the line.
Prioritising for Retirement
As you all know, I have recently decided that my retirement is something which is very important to me and I am channeling a lot of effort into making it happen. Almost everything I do these days is somewhat influenced by my recent decision to both pay off my mortgage and retire from the daily grind by the time I reach my forties.
When I get up in the morning, I have my breakfast at home and wait until I'm in work for my coffee. I head home for lunch and I don't snack in the mornings or afternoons. My tea is usually planned - except when it's not - but I have reserves in the freezer for those times. I exercise plenty and am now biking. My car is about to be put on sale (just two more things to do) and my house is the smallest place I have lived in for almost 10 years.
The interesting point to note is this. Even though I have recently changed almost every aspect of my life - sometimes radically so - nothing seems overbearing. In fact, almost every decision I make now is influenced by my ultimate dream and in a lot of cases makes these decisions easier (it's almost obvious which of the choices I should take).
A Happy Life
And this brings me back to my chosen way of life. Even though my ultimate decision is to retire at 40, it has actually made the rest of my life, as it is now, a much happier and meaningful one. I prioritise time over TV, I choose exercise over going to the pub and I choose the great outdoors on a bike instead of a supermarket car-park in a car.
It just so happens that not only do these decisions make me happier, healthier and fitter, they're also making me wealthier and therefore one step closer to my ultimate goal.
What are you prioritising to get you closer to your goal?