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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Therapeutic Accounting: Why Wait?


We all make wishes throughout our lives. It could be at no special time or during special times where making wishes are a tradition.

How many of us, when we were younger, fought to get the “wish bone” from a chicken or turkey at mealtime? How about the wishes we make, whether young or older, at a wishing well? I am sure that most of us make a wish when we blow out the candles on our birthday cake. And, of course, there is the wish that we make when we see a shooting star.

The one that most everyone seems to do openly (or internally) is to make a wish on New Year’s Eve. It’s called a New Year’s Resolution. This wish can be anything from, “I’m going to get in better control of my finances” to, “I need to make up with that old friend or relative; I need to become more social; I need to stop some of my addictions; I need to work on getting healthier” or “I’m going to stop micromanaging my health.”  Everyone has a different kind of wish based on who they are, where they are in life and where their priorities lie. However, nothing ever gets completed by wishing alone. It takes thought, action and sometimes luck to make your wish come true.

For me, I have secretly wished during many New Year’s Eves to lose some weight. I, like my father, have always been overweight—for a few of those years only by a few of pounds, but most years by a significant number of pounds. As is true with most New Year’s resolutions, it starts off promising, but over the days, weeks or months, we go back to our old comfortable ways. I, for one, have gained and lost hundreds of pounds in my adult life (which I have been told is worse than always being heavy).

I thought about why I needed to wait for a particular date to start to do something that I needed and wanted to do. Why should I wait, other than it was a habit of mine?

I decided to try a different approach this past year. Although I chose a start date, it wasn’t because of the particular date, but because I thought it would make my challenge easier. It happened to be the last day of tax season (April 17th). I decided that I was going to try to lose a significant amount of weight and keep those pounds off for as long as I could.

I picked April 17th because our office always has “goodies” around during tax season. I felt it would be easier to start without that temptation around all of the time. Also, I decided to get professional help with my diet. I always exercise so I did not have to deal with that issue. My challenge surrounded my eating habits. I worked with a nutritionist who started by lecturing me about how various foods work in the body. He drew my blood to get a read on my internal workings and determine what kinds of foods would best help me achieve my weight-loss goals. My wife helped by shopping for foods that my nutritionist and I agreed that I should eat. She also helped me to recognize times where I started to go back to my old ways.

As mentioned, it was truly a team effort to get me to change my “normal ways.” What motivated me to lose and keep off the extra weight? Who knows for sure. I certainly want to be as healthy as possible. A healthy lifestyle allows me to share my life in a good way with my wife and family; to work as hard as possible for as long as I can; and to allow me to travel the world and see as many places as possible. However, watching my grandchildren grow and develop their own personalities is my real motivation. I remember wishing to myself how great it would be to see them all get married or find a partner to share their love with.

Considering that my youngest is one year old, I need to be around for a while to make this a reality. I really started to focus on that dream and decided I had to do everything I could to make that wish come true.

I could have waited until this past New Year’s to start the challenge, but if I hadn’t started the process when I did, I would not be over 45 pounds lighter today.

Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today?

Why wait?

Therapeutic Accounting®
Harvey Bookstein has more than 40 years of public accounting experience, and he specializes in estate planning, charitable giving, and dealing with financial issues relating to children, divorce and successions planning for businesses/wealth from one generation to the next. When dealing with these issues, Harvey developed a method he has registered as Therapeutic Accounting®. Harvey’s approach is to not only look at a particular business, financial or personal issue—but to look at the specific issue as part of the “big picture.”

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