The past 90 days, I decided to do an experiment and keep a log of every single expense I incurred each month.  I wanted to check and see if I was sticking to a realistic budget, and also identify areas where I might be able to cut unnecessary spending.  So, each and every day, I logged how much I spent, whether I paid cash or put in on my credit card, and at the end of each month I lumped them into categories, such as housing, food, medical, clothing, car, or entertainment.  Then a funny thing happened a long the way–  I found myself become increasingly conscientious about the way I spend my money, and I am now much more comfortable with my budget as I start the new year.

Maybe money management is not your issue, but it’s about accounting for your time.  If you are unsure about whether you are being efficient with your time, why not start by spending a week logging your use of time?  How much are you working?  How much are you sleeping? What are you doing with the time that remains?  I firmly believe that once you see how you are allocating this valuable resource, you can cut out distractions that are counter-productive and perhaps you will make room for worthwhile activities that can improve your overall satisfaction.

For those that are concerned with their health, maybe you can try tracking your calories and workout regiments for a month.  I had to do this for years as a young athlete, so now as an adult I refuse to do this anymore, but I do believe there is tremendous value in doing this.  The point is when you see how much you are consuming vs. calories burned each day, you can gain far better control of your choices.

Life is all about choices– what career you choose, the friends you pick, the relationships your nurture or discard, the life-style you pursue… and all of these different choices define us.  The key is to recognize the power you have with each and every choice, and in order to do this you have to hold yourself accountable.

Every day in divorce court, we hold people accountable for their choices– and sadly, for some this is the first time ever that they’ve really had to justify their choices, including how they have lived and spent their money, how they raised their children and treated their significant others, how much they managed to save, and even how they conducted themselves throughout the litigation.

Let me just suggest that before you find yourself in court, or on a hospital bed, burnt out at work, or maxed out on your credit cards– give yourself a reality check.  Take a good look at the habits that are of most concern to you.  Stop kicking the can or coming up with a million excuses for why these situations are outside of your control.  Use the last 30 days of this year to really explore your daily habits and figure out if there are things you want to change, then find a way to make that happen in the new year.

We all have things we need to work on, and I for one prefer to calmly work at my own pace rather than trying to find answers in a crisis mode.  Don’t wait for some critical moment to cause a rude awakening for you.  Hold yourself accountable now and start 2017 under your own terms.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.