I’ve never identified with the concept of gazelle intensity. My interpretation of it has always been one of extreme frugality, living with no frills for an extended period of time in order to throw as much money as possible towards debt and/or retirement. It always seemed to me that kind of perspective would have people essentially get zero enjoyment out of life while they pay off debt, or save for retirement. I always thought there had to be some kind of balance. I never understood why someone would purposefully and completely deprive themselves of everything.
But over the weekend, with an epiphany of sorts, it suddenly made sense to me.
I’m training for a June marathon, and really need to lose some weight to do achieve my goals. I’ve been doing a half-assed job at watching what I eat. I joined Weight Watchers to try to get a handle on my diet, but I track my eating about one out of every three days, and even then I don’t enter into the online tool everything I eat. I keep thinking that I can eat cookies, chips, hot dogs and any other kind of junk I want. As long as I do it in moderation, I’ll be OK. Obviously, that hasn’t been working out very well for me.
Lost in my thoughts while I was mowing lawn, I came to the conclusion that the only way I was going to really achieve my goal was say, “No” to it all. No more nachos, chicken wings, alcohol, soda, or any other kind of junk food. Because one chip becomes half a bag, one scoop of ice cream becomes a heaping bowl. I needed to simplify the process, and just deny myself everything for the good of my ultimate goal. Not forever, just until I reach my weight goal, and run my marathon in June. Where I go from there can be decided when I get there.
With a smile on my face it hit me, this is gazelle intensity.
Later that same day, Vonnie and I were going over our finances and discovered a problem. Because we failed to change our tax withholdings, we would likely owe quite a bit on our taxes next year. As I picked up some freelance writing jobs, I really needed to either pay quarterly taxes, or change the tax withholdings for my day job to account for no taxes coming out of my writing payments. Our estimation is that we need to save up about $7000 by next April. We have the resources to do it, but we need to have extreme focus for the next five months.
We need to be gazelle intense in order to avoid incurring more debt to pay our tax bill.
On a previous post in which I wrote about my disbelief of gazelle intensity, a reader commented that gazelle intensity wasn’t a forever perspective, but rather a short interval followed by something perhaps less intense. I didn’t get it then, but I certainly get it now. Both my weight loss and marathon training as well as our need to save a significant amount of money are a both short periods of high intensity focus. Once we are able to pay that tax bill with cash, and once I cross that finish line at my goal weight, we can decide to either back off, or take on a new goal.
Gazelle intensity applies when the achievement of a goal is more important than what you have to give up to get there.
Dropping 30 pounds and running my best marathon ever is more important to me than the taste of sour cream and onion chips. Being able to pay that tax bill in cash by April 15th is more important to us than a mini family vacation, or any amount of material stuff that we would buy otherwise.
I invite you, the EOD nation, to check out a very special edition of I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup this Friday as we begin our march to $7000 in savings to pay our tax bill. Maybe you’ll decide that you need to get all gazelle on a goal that you really want to achieve. If so, feel free to leave comments here, or on Friday’s post. Then give your own updates each week as well.
To all of you who have tried to convince me I was wrong about gazelle intensity. My sincerest apologies. I get it.