Monday, February 4, 2013

Motivational Monday #79 - Time For A Tune Up

This week has been brutal, well, at least for my car.  Last week I took it in to get a second opinion on some mechanical work that needed to be done.  While a few of the first mechanic's recommendations turned out to be unwarranted, others popped up at an alarming rate.  After everything was said and done, I shelled out a lot of cash and made my local mechanic a very happy camper.

You may all be wondering how exactly I got into such a mess.  There was no accident, no earth shattering moment for which my engine dropped on the ground, just a funny feeling when the car came to a stop and started going again.  Honestly, I thought I was imagining it for a few weeks, but nope, I was the proud owner of a very sick car.

I think many of us are in the same boat.  We may not have car troubles, but when going through life, something just doesn't feel right.  It might be a nagging feeling that you have forgotten something, or maybe that creepy little foreboding that something unpleasant is on the way.  It is very rarely a big issue, right up until the moment it is a HUGE issue.

So how do we give ourselves a regular tune up?  How do we keep on top of standard maintenance and preventative care?  I will tell you I have my oil changed and the car inspected at the appropriate intervals, but maybe I wasn't paying attention to the full report.  Maybe, just maybe, I thought I could wait a little longer to deal with some small issues.

Here are a few ideas:
  1. Visit your health care professional to get regular check-ups and physicals.  Sometimes we get used to small changes and never really notice the problems that have developed.  Having a doc you trust take a look under the hood is a great way to make sure you are on the right track.
  2. Take a new look at your old bills.  I think sometimes we get so used to paying our monthly bills that we don't even question them anymore.  Taking the time to compare rates, analyze offers, and review terms can save you a lot of cash.  In our family, we noticed we used the internet more than the TV, and dropped our cable subscription.  While this wouldn't work for everyone, it has been great for our family.  We spend more time together, and a lot less time sitting on the couch glued to a screen.  As a nice side bonus, we saved $600 a year. Sweet!
  3. Organize your closets.  Yep, I just uttered some of the scariest words on the planet, but take a deep breath and follow me for a moment.  Closets collect the things we think we need, and the things we used to need, but have no idea what to do with anymore.  Taking a look at what is inside can give us some startling evidence about the priorities in our lives.  If you have 200 pairs of shoes stashed in the closet, most of which are unused and forgotten, then maybe you like to buy things you don't need. (Don't worry, I know every woman needs at least 100 pairs of heels...but beyond that, maybe you overdid it? ~eye roll~) Anyway, looking at what we purchased, what we actually use, and what we store because we can't part with it, tells us a lot about our priorities.  If what you see doesn't make you happy, clean it out and start filling it with object that reflect your personality.  Better yet, let your closet be half empty.  No one has died from having too little junk in their closets!
  4. Purchase things intentionally.  This may come as a surprise (to no one at all) but stores put things you didn't even know you needed right by the register.  They call these impulse purchases.  The economy is greatly boosted every year by these overpriced and under-needed items.  Chances are, if you didn't come into the store looking for a furry cat faced pencil warmer, you don't really need one.  By choosing to only purchase things you have an identified need for, you will limit your outgoing expenses and use more of the things you already own.  You may ask why I include this in my tune-up post, but for many of us, that nagging feeling that we are forgetting something drives our need to purchase things we may or may not need, hoping to fill the gap.  Intentional purchases give you back the power over your spending, and make you take responsibility for your money.  It is hard to have a nagging feeling when you are energetically involved with your money.
  5. Evaluate your involvement.  As any good charity will know, the strength of its organization is directly related to the volunteers who make it run.  We live in a day and age where social services are being more and more driven by the non-profits that champion those causes.  Everything from the local PTOs to cancer research are powered by local citizens donating their time and talents to the causes they believe in.  What do you believe in?  The options are endless, but can include education, religion, medical research, civic issues, legal issues, animal causes, athletic pursuits, or any other number of things.  Is it possible the nagging feeling you have is a problem in your community that you have the ability to solve?  Could your time and talents be the difference between moving your cause forward, or not?  Maybe you just want to help someone or something beyond your own four walls.  Service in our communities is a wonderful way to express our priorities and become involved in causes bigger than ourselves.  On the flip side, they are also ways to divert us from our real priorities, which may be as basic as family and work.  By evaluating how much time you spend in the community and the ways you give of yourself, you are more able to identify a balance and seek to reach it.  While I am a strong advocate for volunteerism, I truly believe you must start at home.
Okay, there is a solid list of ways to give your life a tune up.  Of course there are many others.  I have left religion and politics off this list intentionally, as those are polarizing and touchy subjects. If they are important to you, go out and do something about it.  If not, don't.  I think that about covers it.

Now here is the trick...keep doing these things on a regular basis.  Don't wait until small imbalances keep your car in the shop for days and come with a huge price.  Evaluate, adjust, and readjust as needed to keep yourself tuned up, in great working order, and ready to go!


  1. Perhaps the first thing I should do is get my car checked out as it has been sounding sickly and your tale has made me nervous.

    1. I understand nervous! I just found fluid under the car on my garage floor. Let's just say it is already back in the shop and I am holding my breath to see what is wrong this time! Pretty soon I am going to need a frequent shopper discount card!!!