You’re always one decision away from a totally different life

Heard that quote up there the other day and still nodding to myself at how true it is…

The simplest decisions have the power to change your life! For the better or worse!

Of course there are many other decisions that don’t result in squat and matter at all, haha, but those are the boring ones which we won’t be pondering about today ;)

Went down a mental list of all the choices I clearly remember making that ended up resulting in smart moves, and here’s what I came up with:

  • Deciding to go to University
  • Deciding to be cigarette and drug-free (hard to do at university!!)
  • When I packed up all my stuff and moved to New York City
  • When I finally decided to sign up to my company’s 401(k) plan
  • When I started tracking my net worth
  • When I started this blog instead of wasting even more time on MySpace (remember that? ;))
  • When my future wife asked me where the bathroom was at my favorite bar, and I asked her to dance instead (she said no, but an hour later she came to her senses!)
  • When I decided to go “all in” on myself and do this blog thing full-time
  • When I gave up complaining, cursing, soda, and shopping when bored every day of my life – all results of my yearly Lent challenges that later became habits!
  • When I decided I wanted to be a dad
  • When I quit successful projects that no longer made sense for me
  • And then finally, when I decided to put MY LIFE in front of my CAREER

All big moves whether I knew it at the time or not. And of course, there were plenty of failed decisions sprinkled along the way too, haha…

Such as:

  • That time I bought a house with no money down and no budget on a whim
  • That time I threw out my back trying to lift a safe impatiently
  • That time I drank too much and chipped a tooth during Beer Pong (still no idea how that happened?!)
  • That time I invested $6,000 into a friend’s company and lost it all
  • That time I invested $10,000 into another friend’s company and lost half of that too (I was on such a lucky streak back then that I let my guard down and was quickly put in my place, haha…)
  • That time I let a friend borrow my car and then he crashed it
  • That time I ordered a salad at a pancake restaurant (never again!!)
  • (ALL) those times I put my career in front of my kids and my family

You can’t always be perfect, but you hope at least the WINS more than make up for all the FAILS over your lifetime! Haha… And even better if you can win at the big things and suck at the small things ;)

Fun question to ask yourself though as we head closer to the new year here and start making those resolutions…

What are some big decisions you already know right now that would completely change your life if you implemented them? What’s holding you back?

Most of us know what we should be doing, but it’s a whole other thing to make ’em happen. Let this be a gentle push to take that first step, and if you need an accountability partner along the way just drop me a note! Happy to root on a fellow money friend :)

You’re always just one decision away from a totally different life.

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  1. Kate December 2, 2019 at 6:07 AM

    That Saturday morning on 14 December 2013 when I decided it was my last ever hangover – been sober since, when I put offer in on a London flat before I had sold my *previous country* flat and LIED about having the deposit to get the offer accepted, when I downloaded YNAB and starting budgeting and tracking spending, when I agreed to go on a quick coffee date with some dude I’d swiped right on before going out for coffee with the girls – we got married 9 months later!, when I agreed to get a dog, despite the timing not being “perfect” – I never thought I could love an animal so much! And as for my failures… I like to think they were all part of the journey to where I am today! :)
    PS: Salad in a Pancake hut? Gross! And something I’ve done a millions times before.

    1. J. Money December 2, 2019 at 11:56 AM

      haha… your life’s been pretty interesting the past handful of years!! amazing how many journeys we all go on, and how *drastically different* they can be from each other :) I bet that first one up there made the biggest difference of them all though eh? (and perhaps set you up to even receive/appreciate the future gifts?) A major one to pull off – I respect the crap out of that :)

  2. Debbie December 2, 2019 at 6:24 AM

    Our biggie is coming up in 2020. We’re retiring to Panama! Following the way of Jim who I actually discovered on your website last Spring (his blog is RouteToRetire). I’ve been selling everything we own the past few months while hubby’s doing necessary repairs now. Will put our house on the market in Feb & off to Panama after it sells where we can live 50% cheaper than here. Mistakes? Spending too much on remodeling our prior home. We over improved for the neighborhood & it cost us when we had to sell it (hubby could no longer walk up the stairs due to knee injuries). We’ve carefully NOT made that mistake with our current home.

    1. J. Money December 2, 2019 at 11:50 AM

      WOWW! That’s exciting!! Will you be starting a blog to document it all as well?? Could be a fun little project to store the memories and inspire others along the way :) Not that I’m sure you need another project to worry about, haha…

      1. Debbie December 2, 2019 at 1:15 PM

        Our plates are overflowing. Besides selling everything we own & listing our house, we’ve many time sensitive hoops to jump to get Visas & transport dogs. Besides, Jim’s blog is doing this already. He’s been documenting his journey to FIRE & retired to Panama with his wife & 9 yr old daughter in Aug. at age 43. His blog has many interesting posts on his adventures getting to & settling in Panama. Hope you’re settling in & enjoying your first holiday season in your new home!!

        1. J. Money December 2, 2019 at 2:53 PM

          Thanks! We are! :)

  3. BuddMann December 2, 2019 at 10:09 AM

    Great post to reflect! I have a “successes, failures and future” Google doc I keep for the same thing. Also, a great practice of mine is to look back at what you started years ago that has gone right…mine are my daughters, education pursuits, my career (about to retire with pensionFI at 53), and providing college costs for my girls…rewarding experience!

    1. J. Money December 2, 2019 at 11:46 AM

      “pensionFI” – haha…

      Well done, sir.

  4. Pat December 2, 2019 at 11:03 AM

    Truth, indeed.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

    1. J. Money December 2, 2019 at 11:45 AM

      We did!! Lots of relaxing and kid time – not exactly at the same time though, haha… You?

  5. Brad December 2, 2019 at 11:09 AM

    Great post my friend!

    We just made a huge one. Leaving my comfort zone at a fortune 500 company to go work for a start-up with a mission I truly believe in!

    1. J. Money December 2, 2019 at 11:45 AM

      Wowwwwww!! That is huge!! I want an email please on the start-up you’re moving to!! Love learning about new ones!

      1. Brad December 2, 2019 at 1:30 PM

        For sure, I’ll shoot you one later tonight!

  6. Tawcan December 2, 2019 at 4:03 PM

    This is like thinking about all the different alternate universes out there. Some failures are necessary so we can learn from them. :)

    1. J. Money December 3, 2019 at 5:44 AM

      Haha… True :)

  7. Annette December 2, 2019 at 4:21 PM

    Love this!! It is so annoying when people complain about their situation but refuse to do anything about it.

    I will give you our (hubby and myself) best and worst.

    Best: Sell our house in Blaine, WA and move to Philadelphia for a new job and become renters once again.

    Worst: sell our perfectly good, small pickup truck to buy a much older, huge one to tow a trailer cross country for our move. This decision caused a chain reaction of crap for the next 6 months. Lesson, if you do this make sure you can buy a large trailer to go with the truck at the same time. We failed to do that and ended up towing a uhaul trailer with our stuff. Our original truck could have towed it!!!

    1. J. Money December 3, 2019 at 5:46 AM

      Great job going back to renting, though!! Some people are so afraid to do that since it’s against the norm, but as you know I’m a huge fan of that!! And already miss it! :)

  8. Tonya@BudgetandtheBeach December 3, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    Love this! It’s funny to think about a parallel life we could be living if we had made a different choice. I think I’m definitely going to do this exercise. There have been some HUGE moments that shifted everything for me. You tend to have a lot of stories when you’ve reached the ripe old, I mean mature age of 49. lol

    1. J. Money December 3, 2019 at 1:09 PM

      Haha awesome!! Please do, and then share it with the world so we can all see too! :)

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life December 3, 2019 at 3:51 PM

    Lots of things were life-changing in hindsight but I have no idea what we’re doing today that will be life-changing tomorrow :) Most of my things are small decisions that turned out to be huge or really significant in our lives.

    Case in point: I sent a handful of treats to a colleague I’d never met before because I felt bad that she had to work on a weekend, because of my unreasonable boss, and that sparked the beginning of a 20 year (and counting!) mentor relationship and friendship. I didn’t even know that’s what sparked her decision to become my friend and mentor until she told me ten years later!

    1. J. Money December 4, 2019 at 6:07 AM

      wowww that is so cool!!! and sweet of you to even send her the treats in the first place! always admire people like that who give so genuinely without second thought :) and you’re right – you can’t ever plan for everything as much as we sometimes wish we could… Awesome story!

  10. Steveark December 4, 2019 at 8:53 PM

    What changed my life was agreeing to take a staring role in a play as a teenager. I was a painfully shy nerd. But I could act, who knew! And by Stepping out of my Comfort zone my life changed forever. I became a risk taker and got a hot girlfriend and made a lot of money as a leader. That one decision changed everything!

    1. J. Money December 5, 2019 at 6:45 AM

      WOW! haha… didn’t expect to see that one today! I admire the crap out of you for that one – sounds like my nightmare :)

  11. spiffikins December 8, 2019 at 10:28 PM

    One of the big decisions for me, was switching from a Bachelor of Science track to a Bachelor of Commerce track, and ending up taking an extra year to finish college. If I hadn’t done that, then the timing would have been “off” and I wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time, to hear the advertisements for a 9 month course that promised to turn you into an IT professional. At the time the radio ads were playing, I had been working for about a year after college, and was HATING my job – so I was ripe for the plucking and signed up – which led to my current career and my awesome life!

    1. J. Money December 9, 2019 at 10:44 AM

      Very nice!! Way to change the course like that even though it “cost” you an extra year! Not the easiest choice to make at the time I’m sure :)

  12. Laura Condit December 15, 2019 at 11:05 AM

    The most minor decision that led to a major life change: I decided to go out for Chinese food instead of ordering pizza one day back in 1987. I ended up running into a guy I dated in college and hadn’t seen in ages. We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year!

    1. J. Money December 16, 2019 at 6:43 AM

      Wowwww haha… who could have predicted that! :)