When I was 47, I decided to try running a marathon. I have never been a runner. I actually had to look up how many miles were in a marathon.
I started by running two minutes without taking a break, then three, then four–talk about every minute counting! I stuck a piece of paper on our refrigerator to keep track of my progress. Day by day, minute by minute, the numbers increased. It took me six weeks to be able to run 30 minutes straight.
Then I began to train seriously.
I posted a new chart on the refrigerator, this time recording miles completed and days on and off. I kept adding distance to the training and I kept updating my chart on the refrigerator. The numbers motivated me. My courage increased with the miles.
On the day I ran 10 miles for the first time, I cried like a baby for hours. I couldn’t believe I had done it: 10 miles! That’s what athletes do, not almost-middle-aged- kind-of- overweightish-women like me! Crossing the 10-mile mark gave me new confidence. I started to believe that I could actually do 26.2.
Six months later, I stepped out onto my one and only marathon. 26.2 miles and four hours and forty-four minutes later, I stumbled across the finish line, gasping for breath, but weeping with exhilaration.
Recording our data gives us information that motivates us to take action–we notice it in team sports, weight training, business, even report cards.
When your football team is down 7 points, you know you need to drive back up the field and score a tying goal. A B- is simply feedback on your work that shows you what is missing to get to the next level. When the sales double in a store because of a new item on display, the store owner can deduce that he is doing something right. When I realized I could run 10 miles, I dared to go for 11. Then I went for 12. Then 13. And eventually 26.2.
When we don’t measure and record information, we don’t know. A bank that does not keep records will not stay in business long. The athlete who doesn’t measure his progress doesn’t know where he stands.
An interesting benefit of tracking is that it improves performance–this has everything to do with how our minds work: we get feedback on our actions, which brings forth clearer understanding, and this understanding moves us to take action accordingly.
This principle works for every aspect of life, including our time and money. If we don’t keep track, we don’t know what we have and where “it” goes. And without that basic information, we cannot possibly handle our assets wisely.
The Bible puts it this way, “Know well the condition of your flock, and pay attention to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23). In today’s language, we could say, “Know well the condition of your finances, and pay attention to your schedule.”
So, where do we start?
n the next couple of posts, I will be giving you two very practical ways to help you know where you stand. You may think that working through this chapter is beneath you–please resist the temptation to yield to that thought. This process is exactly how I have helped many people get out of debt into a very comfortable financial position; this is the very system that liberated enough time enough to write this book, hold a job, play with my grand-babies and enjoy life.
Are you ready?
We are a group of women who are learning to OWN OUR LIVES with Joy! Right now, we are working on handling our finances and time in a godly way. You are very welcome to join us if you wish!