It’s Never Too Late to Take Control Of Your Life!

ControlI’ve been an inconsistent exerciser for my entire adult life. I’ll go through cycles of exercising religiously for months, but then go through a similar span of doing nothing. However, at the beginning of 2011 I looked in the mirror at an overweight, out of shape, middle aged man. My family has a history of some significant health problems, and I knew that if I didn’t make changes, I was sure to follow in their footsteps.

Today marks two years of consistently working out 5-7 days a week. I ran my third marathon in October missing a personal best by 7 seconds only because I stopped to take pictures.  In last week’s strength training workouts I set personal bests in every exercise in my weight lifting routine.

Did I mention last Friday was my 39th birthday?

I am well past the age when males are perceived to be at their physical peak, and yet I’m in the best physical condition of my life.

I reached a similar turning point in June of 2009 when our out of control credit card debt had finally reached a state where we could no longer meet all of our monthly financial commitments.  My wife and I knew we had to make major changes if we were ever going to break free of living paycheck to paycheck and continuously struggling financially. We enrolled in a debt management program, and are now just 15 months away from paying off over $109,000 of credit card debt.

I could have just let my health deteriorate. It would have been easy to just continue exercising inconsistently, and eating whatever I wanted. After all, I’m in my late 30’s. Common sense says I’m in physical decline, and my best years are behind me. I could have taken the perspective that I will never be as fast or as strong as I could have been in my early 20s. Instead I’ve worked hard in the gym day in and day out for two years, and find myself in the best health of my life.

We could have just given up on our finances, too. We could have continued to pay the minimums on whatever we could, ignored our debt, doomed to a life of the phone ringing with constant calls from creditors. We could have taken the perspective that our debt was too much to overcome, and that financial freedom would never be anything but a fairy tale for us. Instead we took on our financial problems, finding a way to eliminate our debt, fighting to learn how to work as a team to get our finances back on track.

The beginning of 2013 brings new fitness goals. I want to bench press 300 pounds. I want to squat 500 pounds. I am beginning marathon training again, with a goal of finishing in under 3.5 hours.

With the finish line of our DMP in plain sight, we are beginning to form new financial goals as well. In the estimated 57 months it will take us to complete our program, we will make around $141,000 in payments. When we complete our program, I’d like to set a goal of saving the same amount in the next 57 months.

I know we can make it happen.

It’s never to late to take control of your life and make it the best that you possibly can. With the start of a brand new year it’s a perfect time to take control of yours and make it everything  you want to be.

How will you take control of your life in 2013?

About Travis

22 Responses to “It’s Never Too Late to Take Control Of Your Life!”

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  1. It’s definitely never too late. I’m working my way back from an injury that recently derailed my running habit – so I’m having to renew my commitment to running faster this year than last.

    That and I’ve made it a goal to pay off the remaining $58K in RE investment debt that we have by the end of 2013. It’s big. But do-able, I think!

  2. Dr. Sheba says:

    I am taking control of my credit card debt this year. I currently owe $8,200 in credit cards and it’s my goal to owe nothing by December 31, 2013. It’s not easy for me to stick to a plan, but I’m just tired of working to pay debts. Your post has definitely helped motivate me.

    • Travis says:

      That’s fantastic, Dr Sheba – a totally achievable goal! Having a plan of action is the start of great things to come! I hope you’ll come back here for motivation throughout the year!

  3. Catherine says:

    You’re inspirational dude. Good for you. I don’t know if you read it but See Debt Run had a great post recently about how when they embarked on their debt repayment they started seeing improvements in all areas of their lives. I’m starting to notice the same thing…It’s amazing how much time stress (ie debt and not budgeting) takes out of your life! Good luck on your goals!!

    • Travis says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Catherine – the instant Vonnie and I got on the same page with our finances and budgeting – not only did our individual stress levels go down, but the tension in our relationship plummeted as well. I can’t even imagine how much less that stress level will drop again once we’ve made that last payment! Thanks for your support, Catherine, I’m excited to watch you drive towards that same goal. 🙂

  4. Belated happy birthday! You have been a good motivation and a source of inspiration this past year. I believe that we can make things happen if we allow it to. We need to believe in ourselves and in our capabilities. Let’s take one step at a time and we will soon reach our goals. We can do it. LET’S DO IT!

    • Travis says:

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, Cherleen! You raise a good point, we have to believe in ourselves before we can decide to take control. We can do it…we ARE doing it! Thanks for your comment!

  5. Travis, that picture of you makes me want to get up and workout! That’s awesome that you are in such peak performance at age 39. I still have yet to participate in a marathon even at age 32! I have also committed myself to getting back to the once rock solid workout routine I used to have. I’d like to enter 40 better than I did at 30!

    • Travis says:

      You CAN do it, My Money Design! I tell you the truth – there is no feeling on this planet like crossing the finish line of a marathon. Once you feel it, you keep wanting to go back and feel it again – it seriously brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. If you do sign up for one, let me know, I’d love to talk training with you! 🙂

  6. Such an inspirational post–killer debt payoff and great fitness accomplishments highlighted. 2013 is certainly going to be your year; keep up the great work!

    • Travis says:

      At the end of 2013 we will have 3 payments left. 3. little. payments. Some days it feels like we just started, some days it feels like we’ve been at this forever. 2013 IS going to be a great year…..follow along, friend, it’s gonna be a fun ride! 🙂

  7. I see the 30s as the new 20s, but better. Hopefully, the mistakes made during the 20s will not be made during the 30s. Most people in their 30s have a better sense of who they are and what they want out of life. Like you, I’ve gone through my moment of not exercising at all to exercising too much. This year I’m training for the Spartan Race in March 2013. Should be fun!

    • Travis says:

      I agree, Ornella – I’d take “Travis at 39” over any other time in my life. I’m comfortable with who I am, and where I’m headed. The Spartan Race sounds like fun…..good luck!

  8. Funny how discipline and sticking to a plan work for heath and money. Keep on truckin’ and setting those PR

    • Travis says:

      The bottom line is that both health and money are goals, right Brent? Discipline and sticking to a plan will help achieve any goal! Great to hear from you Brent – thanks for your comment!

  9. JMK says:

    As a general rule I don’t set formal New Year’s resolutions, but I do pause to review and revise the financial plan and life path we’re on at the start of each new year. I suppose it happens as a result of updating our monster spreadsheet and laying out the spending plan for the next calendar year. I recently laid out the planned spending through to December 2013 and calculate where we’ll be at if we don’t deviate from the plan. Of course life doesn’t work that way, but I always like to calculate the best case scenario (if nothing unexpected ever happened…right) and then at year end see how close we came.

    After a review of our 2012 spending for each item and I’ve slightly increased the weekly gas budget for both vehicles – high time I acknowledged the new normal and planned for it. For the past 2 years I’ve worked with $180/wk for groceries and for 2012 I came in at $179.43. In 2011 it was 176.52. It used to be relatively easy to stay on budget, but I found it was requiring a lot more effort the past few months. I’m not sure if that was a reflection of rising food prices, or my DH switching to a low carb (meat and veg) diet. We have fewer sandwiches at lunch or pasta dinners to stretch the budget, but on the up side he has lost 20 pounds in the past 3 months.

    For 2013 our biggest dilema is whether or not to attempt to accelerate our savings and extra mortgage payments even more so we can move up the early retirement plan. On our current trajectory our mortgage will be paid off in 5yrs and we’ll retire 3yrs after that. The extra three years are to finish topping up the retirement savings, generate a separate budget specifically for retirement travel, and do one last round of car replacement and house renovations/repairs so we have no large expenses looming after we walk away from our careers. We’ve chosen to live an ultra frugal lifestyle so that we’ll be able to retire in our late 50s but every year at this time I wonder if we couldn’t do a just little more. Trim a little closer to the bone without making life complete drudgery. Is there some cost savings trick we’ve been missing? Would it be worth taking on extra PT jobs on top of our busy careers? How much difference would each change make and does it move up our retirement enough to offset what we’d have to do or give up now? Compared to our work collegues and family, we’re way ahead. But I’ve never been one to use that as a measuring stick. I always try to challenge myself to see what is possible for us and our children, regardless how nutty others think it is.

    Ultimately we may just continue on the path we’re on and retire in 8 years. We’ve pretty much perfected living this way (on ~55-60% of our net pay) but in the back of my mind I always wonder if I’ll look back and wish we’d done just a little more. I can sit back and say, we’ve taken control and gone from hoping to retire at 65, to knowing we’ll retire in our late 50s. Is that enough? If we’d started sooner we could have retired in our late 40s but that ship sailed long ago. All I can do is look forward and try to find the best we can between enjoying the present and still retireing earlier that we thought possible just a few years ago.

    • Travis says:

      Everybody has their own goals, and it looks like you’ve got the cross hairs set at retiring early and you’re working hard to get there. It sounds to me like you’ve got things completely under control – having the luxury of trying to accelerate, or not accelerate is a great question to be able to ask yourself. Thanks for sharing your goals and experiences, JMK!

  10. debtgirl says:

    I walk everyday, I know I should incorporate more weights though!

    • Travis says:

      It all depends upon what your fitness goals are, debtgirl. There are certainly well documented health advantages to doing regular strength training. If it’s something you want to do….take control and DO IT! 🙂 Hope your new year is off to a great start!

  11. Michelle says:

    Living in Colorado I actually know a TON of people well past their 40s (50s and beyond) who actively compete in 5k’s, 10k’s, and triathlons and kick a@@.. They are by no means finished yet, they aren’t even close. The oldest person in the world (right now) is 115 and you’re only 39 there is a heck of a lot of living to still be done. Am so glad you tapped into that mindset. Congratulations on your debt repayment can’t wait to read the post about your 300 lb bench press.

    • Travis says:

      Great perspective, Michelle! There IS a lot of living to do after 39, so I want to be as healthy as I can – both physically, and financially. I’m taking control and never giving it up! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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