I started writing this with “I can’t believe it’s already October!” and realised that this year I’ve said this probably every single month. It’s been a busy, flying, challenging, exciting year so far. In the past, when there was not a lot to look forward to, time moved extra slow. Even every day, every hour, every minute seemed to go by in agonising slow motion.
Anyways, none (or only some) of that this year so far. Instead, months have been flying by like turbo-charged bees and I can’t believe it’s already October! 😄
October means 1) hectic times at work due to strategy planning starting for the following year, and 2) some personal goals and deadlines approaching towards the end of the year. Well, I’ve set monthly goals and deadlines since the beginning of 2019, and…. mostly kind of failed.
However, this October feels like it’s going to be a great October. So great, in fact, that I should be able to meet three goals this month, and be on my way to meet one deadline I’ve set for the beginning of 2020 which is about saving money towards something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Background: what happened earlier
A few years ago I went through a period of not giving a f***, due to making a decision that I would not live past my 40s. This was some kind of depression/PTSD related self-protection mechanism that allowed me to go about my daily life without constant worry about a future that scared me and that I didn’t want to experience anymore. It gave me a feeling of some sort of peace at the time.
So, I burned through all my savings because I just didn’t care about money anymore and wanted to have some pleasure before everything ended. “Pleasure” meant mainly 3 things: alcohol, takeout or restaurant food, and convenience with moving about. On top of that, there was also an excessive amount of online shopping, but that habit has been much easier to get rid of, so no related goals are needed.
I have some memory gaps and cannot remember exactly how long this period lasted, but I’m guessing about 9 months to a year. I got used to ordering takeout via Deliveroo, sometimes every day, and instead of commuting to work like normal people, I took Uber, often both ways on the same day (I live about an hour drive from work). When all of that comes from savings, it’s fine (well…) but if it would have come from my monthly salary, I would have been probably about £900 per month in debt.
At some point, all my savings came to an end, and I had to drastically change my lifestyle back to what it used to be. That has not been easy and I have been trying to get used to the change for more than two years.
Having said all the above, I have never, not even once, regretted using that money. Yes, it was unnecessary stuff that I bought, but I feel like doing it was kind of “carrying” me through some part of (or towards) a recovery journey – I don’t know how else I could have gone about it at the time as I was really messed up. I don’t know how else I would have got that feeling of peace.
I also have to mention that the decision I talked about above gradually started fading away once I started to get better. Thinking back makes me feel scared, so I don’t often think about it anymore, but it has, thankfully, faded.
The October goals
My three October goals sound pretty simple:
This sounds super simple, but I have actually been struggling with this for a couple of years. Every time I make some progress and manage to commute to work, something happens one morning, such as just the fact that it’s raining, it’s windy, I overslept, I didn’t sleep enough, one of my cats vomited… and my tired and sluggish morning brain instantly picks it as a good enough excuse to take Uber instead of my more-acceptable and cheaper bus-train-underground route.
I get a familiar pleasure/gratification/relief during the car ride, but at the same time, I feel extremely guilty and ashamed. It’s the same with ordering takeout and drinking alcohol.
In the past few months I have been getting used to drinking less and less, and have started to hold the 2-days-a-week rule quite well. My October goal number three has been made VERY easy now (in theory at least) by participating in Dry October with some other people, which creates peer support, or peer pressure if you want to look at it that way, towards something positive. So far so good.
It is now October 8th, and I confess that I have pathetically failed, yet again, with my goal of not taking Uber to work. Tomorrow I will be working from home and should be fine, and I’m trying again on Thursday to be better. If I can make it through Thursday, Friday and some events during the weekend without Uber, then I feel that’s already a good start towards forming a better habit. Then perhaps I won’t be struggling as much at the end of the month.
With takeout, I have been quite good so far this month. I got a big grocery order in which included a lot of frozen foods, and have actually spent time (gasp) cooking recently. I really really dislike cooking, but have managed to make some decent, although a bit repetitive, meals. So that’s looking good!
The 2020 deadline
The deadline I want to work towards meeting somewhere beginning of 2020 is related to saving money so I can move to a different area, closer to my boyfriend so I could spend some more time with him. I don’t do very well by myself at home sometimes, and I miss him every day. It is getting increasingly difficult, and I want to nip it in the bud before it somehow escalates.
Limiting my Uber use, drinking less alcohol, and making more of my meals at home instead of ordering takeout, will save a LOT of money in addition to improving my overall well-being. If I can meet my goals this month, I am on my way to getting more used to these normal and healthier routines month by month, and will hopefully meet the beginning of 2020 moving deadline as well! 🤞
Do you have any October goals? What about any difficulties breaking bad habits? How did you succeed?