Challenges, finance, Health, Living, Uncategorized

Settling for Normal Isn’t Always Good Enough

Ahh the banality of routine. Knowing what to do and when to do it. Accepting the norm and carrying on without question or desire for change. We all get stuck in a rut in many areas of life – health, financial, romance, etc. I am for the large part a big proponent of routines that are helpful and have long-term benefits (ex. auto depositing money in my savings, or going to the gym three times per week). Where I get hung up is when we are so entrenched in the routine that it no longer serves its purpose, or can in fact hinder us.

A personal example of this is my finances. For nearly two decades I have been a customer with the TD bank in Canada. It’s always served its purpose, no more, no less. It’s a basic chequing account and earns absolutely no interest on it. I kept it out of habit and laziness (it’s where all my paycheques go) and even opened up a credit card with them because it was the easiest option. But over the past few years I have watched as more online banks opened up and offered far more tantalizing goodies for new customers. At the same time I regularly receive e-mails from TD telling me that the waiver for holding the minimum amount in my account will no longer be provided. The thought of paying a huge financial institution for the honour of holding my money really chafes. It’s only $4 per month, but screw them. I work hard for my money, and they should be paying me to hold it, not the other way around. I finally worked up my mad, and am looking for alternatives as soon as I finish writing this post. I’ve already lodged a complaint with TD and am feeling all the better for it.

Please join me in saying a hearty “Fuck you!” to the big banks that do not serve our purposes. Feels good, right?

There are so many areas in life where we simply settled for our normal, and leave it at that. Normal can be good, normal can be comfortable, and normal should be a huge part of your life. But that doesn’t mean that we have to continue with our current normal if there are better options available to us.

Finances

This is one of the ones I have decided to focus on in 2020, since I’ve been lazy and allowed myself to lose out on interest for the past few years. In this day and age it truly is not difficult to change banks, particularly since there are so many online options available to us.

  • decide what you want to use the account for, and then research the best one for you.
  • contact them with any questions or concerns.
  • if there is one that offers a promotion, see if any others will match it – you never know!
  • move your accounts over in a way that is comfortable to you. Me, I like to move them all in one go, but others may be more confident doing it bit by bit. If your skittish about change, then slow is better than nothing at all.
  • do a happy dance that you are now free of stupid archaic fees from big banks that do not need any more of your dollars.

Health and Fitness

Ahhhh the most common area we decide to change. Everyone has something they would like to change about their health/fitness. Personally, I am continuing to strength train and focusing on eating foods that fuel me. I’d love to get smaller in the waist and tone up my arms. Routines are really great in the health and fitness category, but it is very easy to get caught up doing the same thing over and over and over again. Our bodies adapt really quickly to fitness and nutrition routines, so we may not be challenging ourselves anymore if we do the same thing for weeks on end.

  • add more challenge every week. Me, I add either a tiny bit of weight to the bar, or I try to do an additional rep or set, depending on the exercise. I track this every week so that I can see I am not stagnating.
  • try something new at the gym. My gym recently acquired a giant tire (it’s clean, don’t worry) and I’ve been working on flipping that bad boy over. It’s fun, makes me look kind of dumb, and is a totally different way of using my body to achieve the same goal. Sweet!
  • try something new in the kitchen. My food is pretty boring – I only know how to cook a few things well and I rarely branch out. Spices have become my new best friend, and I’m trying out new veggies (artichokes – love them now!) on a regular basis.
  • take a class, or try a new sport. The social aspect is super huge, and if you enjoy it you have just found a new way to keep your body happy and active. If you don’t enjoy it, cool, you gave it a try and now you know. I have signed up for beginner mixed martial arts, and I am so stoked to get started. It will be a brilliant supplement to my strength training.
Change the setting, change the workout, add a friend, feel great.

Social and Romantic

I have great friends and a wonderful husband. Life is good in this area. Where I want to mix up the routine is how we hang out together. Our go to is the breweries, or a drinking night in. Both of those are amazing and I always look forward to them, but they are truly not healthy evenings and when they happen three times a month it is really detrimental to my health and fitness. As for the romantic side, my husband and I tend to go one expensive dinner dates – this is something I’d like us to change up for a while.

  • get outside for dates and social nights! My friends have some very sweet, active dogs that need a lot of physical exertion. We’ve started taking them for huge hikes in the nice weather before going to the breweries. As for dates, nothing makes me happier than long walks with the hubby where we can talk about all manner of topics. I feel more connected to him during these times than at fancy dinners.
  • POTLUCKS! I am a huge fan of these, and I’m planning on making it a monthly theme night. In this setting I drink less, socialize more, and don’t spend nearly as much money as our regular get togethers.
  • Discover that it’s absolutely fine not to drink on nights out. This is the biggest challenge for me. I love beer, wine and gin and tonics, and I love the feeling of getting buzzed. I’m pretty good at not getting too out of hand, and am rarely super hungover. Yet both my body and my wallet take a hit every time I drink. I may not get a super bad headache in the morning, but I don’t feel 100%. So I’m learning how to be with my friends on a Friday without feeling compelled to drink. They are great people and understand what I am trying to do – it is more my own self-indulgence that I need to battle with.

Routines and normality have a huge place in our lives, and so does change. Switching things up every now and then can create huge improvements in your life – if it doesn’t, then good on you for trying. I don’t want anyone to look back on 2020 and wish that they had changed something, or at the very least attempted to. Getting stuck on the same old thing is a sure way to let life drift by. Try to change it up, and enjoy the hit or miss aspect of it. Have fun!

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