This is an interesting time of the year. It’s a time to reflect, look back over the last 12 months and consider our successes, our failures, where we are, and where we want to go. It’s a time to think about the wants and needs of others. But it’s also a time to consider what we really want for ourselves.

As I look back on my own life, I remember a time some years ago when, financially, I could have anything I wanted. Well, not anything, but most things; the cost wasn’t much of a concern.

But something happens when the cost of an item isn’t the issue. If having something isn’t difficult then you stop being satisfied with what you have and start to want the more expensive, “better” things instead. Sure, I could buy regular golf clubs or the less expensive paintball guns for my kids, but why would I when I could afford the “better” ones? After all, didn’t I deserve the best?

I don’t think I was lacking gratitude—after all, I worked hard for my income. However, I did fall into the trap of believing that a better something meant an overall better and more content life.

Things Don’t Last Forever

Fast forward. After my divorce, my life was different. Despite working full-time as a physician, I found my financial self where I was in college—renting a bedroom for 500 dollars a month. Early on in the transition, there were several times I struggled to even come up with that humble amount. Some days I climbed into my old Suburban with 400,000 miles and pray I’d make it the ten-mile commute to work.

During this time, there were a lot of things I wanted—and I would have been thrilled with even the cheapest version—but now those things were out of my reach. But ya know, I learned something—the best thing about losing everything is having the opportunity to discover not just what you kinda sorta want, but what you really, truly want

Know the Difference

Turns out, as much I enjoyed the nice house, the pricier golf clubs, and never having to worry about the cost of something, I’d been using those things to avoid focusing on what I needed most of all: myself and the life I truly wanted. Were those golf clubs going to give real meaning to my life, or were they just there to distract me for a few minutes before moving on? I think you know the answer.

This Christmas, I encourage you to consider what gift you really want for yourself—what gift would give your life real meaning. Perhaps, rather than golf clubs, a new tie, an expensive purse, or a remodeled kitchen it’s:

  • a more challenging, fulfilling, or flexible career
  • a healthier body that you like seeing when you look in the mirror
  • a loving and caring relationship with a special person or stregthening your current realtionship
  • more money in savings
  • to do something that makes a positive change for others and ourselves

Probably, in order to give yourself this gift, you’ll need to make some changes or take some risks. And what better day to start than today! Don’t wait until January 1st to make your resolution. After all, there is no time like the present for us to have the life we really want versus buying comfort for the life we’re unhappy with. So this Christmas, go ahead and give yourself the most important gift of all: live your value one choice at a time.