Back in March 2017, one of my TVs just stopped working. The TV was only four years old, but unfortunately, many of the “smart TV” channels/features have been discontinued and it stopped working. So, it might be time to replace the TV anyway. However, instead of buying a TV immediately, I set a challenge to myself. I want to sacrifice something that can save me money to by a new TV. After reviewing my expenses, the only place that I can trim is eating out for lunch during the workday.
The TV that I like cost less than $400 with tax and shipping fee, but I set my target to $500 just in case I change my mind and want to upgrade my TV to 4K resolution, or a slightly bigger size.
When I go out for lunch, it cost between $8 to $12 per day. But for simplicity of the math, I assumed all lunches are $8. I estimated the cost of the meal I packed at home is $3 per day. With $5 saving per meal, I need to pack 100 meals (or 20 weeks of home cook food) for lunches before I can purchase a new TV.
1. Ask for support from others
The first thing I do is talked to my wife. My wife is the one who prepares food at home. So, I told my wife about my plan, and I asked her to cook extra food so I can pack it for my lunch.
2. Create a supportive environment
I also make sure that I have a lunchbox or two. Remember, the environment is stronger than your will. For example, how many of you are motivated to run in a freezing 40 degrees F (well, I live in Texas… 40 degrees is freezing) at 5 o’clock in the morning if you don’t have the right running shirt, pants, and jacket?
3. Plan ahead
Every morning, I need to help my daughters to get ready for school; from telling them to eat breakfast, brushing teeth, helping them dress up and get all their stuff ready. To ensure I won’t forget my lunch, I prepared it at night before I go to bed and put it in the middle of the fridge where I can see it easily. When I wake up in the morning, I just grab it and ready to go.
4. Get the reward
I’ve made a deal with myself to get the TV once I packed 100 meals…. and I DID. So, I’m going to get the TV that I’ve been longing for since March. Yeah!!
Some of you might be thinking why don’t I use the money to pay a debt or donate it to some charity instead of buying a TV.
While it is good to use the $500 for charity or pay-off some debt, it is also important to keep a promise to yourself. When you reward yourself for all your hard work, you have much more appreciation for the reward. And, it will motivate you to do another good job the next time you challenge yourself.
That’s the picture of the TV that I’m getting from Amazon. I did my research, and it seems like this TCL brand is not bad. Do you have a good or bad experience with this TV?
What’s the real prize?
The TV is unquestionably a nice reward for all my hard work to pack lunch for 100 working days that span over six months.
However, when I reflect on the whole experience, I realized the real prize is my new habit.
I’ve been able to pack lunch from home more often now, but not for the sake of saving money. I’m doing it to save time, so I can go home a tad early to avoid the rush hours traffic and spend more time with my family.
Share Your Thoughts
If you want to build a new habit, you can follow my execution plan above. And, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. It was not easy to create any new habit but I did it, and certainly learned a lot from the experience.
What’s your biggest challenge when starting a new habit or project? Do you have more tips to make it easy to start a new habit?
Don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends who need a little motivation to start a new habit or project.