Sometimes We Need a Kick in the Pants In Order to Take Action!

Have you ever known someone who knows he (or she) needs to make a change in some habit or aspect of life, but just doesn’t get around to it?  You know, something that clearly could be improved upon, but procrastination or flat out denial takes hold and freezes the person into inaction?

Well, you now know at least one person who’s done that: me!

Okay, I’m sure you know others who have put things off.  Heck, I’d be surprised if you’ve never done this.  Whether it’s money, health, or relationships – which are all key parts of life – there has to be something to be improved upon that isn’t getting done.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as we’re human after all.  Nobody is perfect!

I’ll share with you two example of how this has happened to me.  Both from last year where I took action, and one I’m just now processing.

Last Year – The Soda Habit

First off, confession time here.  I had previously posted a few times about my attempts to give up caffeine.  Specifically my interest was really in doing away with drinking soda, which just didn’t seem like the healthiest choice for me. 

So, I had a few periods of time where I gave it up completely, only to get back into it later.  After having some successes a few years ago that I wrote about, I then got back into the habit of drinking diet soda.  To the point where I was having one every day.  Every single day. Yet again.

This began to take toll on my teeth, to my surprise.  I had a root canal and ultimately ended up getting a wisdom tooth removed due to decay.  It could have stayed otherwise, but the decay was there.  It was like these problems just came out of nowhere in a few years, but it goes to show the impact that a bad habit could potentially have.

I had gotten so accustomed to drinking a soda a day, that I even had one the day before getting my tooth pulled.  The irony of that! 

After dealing with having a wisdom tooth pulled, I decided: that’s it! No more of this stuff.  I mean, I had to be put under IV sedation to get the wisdom tooth pulled, and while the whole experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was still dental surgery. A tooth was permanently gone, which got me wondering what could happen next if I kept up the habit.

Since that time, over 8 months ago as of this writing, I haven’t had a single soda.  That experience of getting a tooth pulled was enough of a kick in the pants for me to wake up and actually make a change.  I don’t think it will be necessary for me to be militant about this in the future to the point of never having one again, but at least I know it can be done because I succeeded.

This Year – Losing Weight

I had an instance recently where I looked at a picture from about a decade ago, when my daughter was really young.  I can’t believe how fast kids grow up, and how different they look from being mere infants to pre-teens.

What I also noticed about the picture is how I looked different then.  Have to say, I looked good back then! Now? Well, not so much in my opinion.  I just look heavier, and somewhat different now than I did in that picture.  Just to be sure, I looked a few other photos and yes, I look kind of different now versus then.

I brought this up with a few people with whom I’m close, and actually got some candid feedback.  The straight up, unsolicited comments were that I really needed to lose 15 pounds to get back to where I was.  These were two separate conversations with two folks that I’m sure hadn’t spoken at all about me, since they rarely see each other.  Independent observations and feedback. But actually, I think they were letting me off easy.

Nonetheless, what a kick in pants!  Or teeth, maybe even gut (but now I have a few extra pounds so maybe not, haha). Anyway, not only did I notice this difference in me, but clearly others did too.  It’s still kind of jarring to hear, even I know it.  Truth be told, I think I should lose more like 25 pounds to get back to where I was a decade ago. Back then, I was physically fit. But just a couple of pounds per year can add up over the course of a decade.

I mean, I’ve lost like 10 pounds before when I had to, but that was years ago.  When young and in good shape anyway, it can take just a month and you’re back in business! When older, it’s a different ballgame it seems.

The next step is to actually do something about it.  By writing about this, I’m making myself accountable.

Final Thoughts

One can see how people sometimes just need a big time reality check to take action.  Usually I talk about money here, and clearly this can apply in that arena.  I’m sure people have their own tipping points that cause them to finally do something about their money.  Maybe it’s a bounced check, lost job, or even something like losing a home. 

Whatever it is, whether money, relationships, or health/fitness as in my case – sometimes we just need that swift kick to get us past inertia and toward action.  It worked for me with the soda.  Plus, I’ve successfully handled other situations in the past. This seems different though…I’m hoping I can apply the same principles to do this!

My Questions for You

Have you ever gotten a big wake up call in some area of life?  If so, what was it and how did you handle it?

Any suggestions for how to approach my quest?  Please do share.


  1. says

    Oh, my health is a mess. I had a pretty wild lifestyle back in the days, starting from high school and ending it up with college: drinking my nights out, sleeping just a couple of hours per day, eating the unhealthiest possible foods, having a diet of coke & coffee (I literally used to order an espresso and a coke when I went out and didn’t drink alcohol) and so on. Among the gifts that this stupid lifestyle left me is hypertension which scares me a lot especially since I am so young to have these problems…

    When I found out about my hypertension, just a few weeks after my grandmother had suffered a stroke, I was mortified. That resulted in me completely changing my lifestyle and now I no longer smoke (quit 5 years ago), I only drink socially, I never ever drank coffee from that day on (although once in a blue moon I get a sip of some decaf just for the taste) and I started to eat healthier. It’s so bad that we need these wake-up calls to understand that our health is one of the few priceless things we own…

    • Squirrelers says

      You’re so right….health is priceless, and unfortunately we often (some of us) need wake up calls. I’ve tried to make some good decisions over the years and think I have, but a few bad ones here and there can make an impact too. Best to be personally accountable and make good choices always.

  2. says

    I had to stop drinking caffeine for health reasons. I got massive stomach aches from it. I miss coffee though. Also, I have substituted caffeine with sugar. I found a loophole though. Through much experimentation I realized that if I drink a coffee right before an intense workout, I somehow burn it off before it has a chance to wreak havoc on my stomach.

    My mom told me once that if you’re thin, even a potato sack can look good on you. Nothing ages you like extra weight. I admit, I still have about 15 extra pounds on me as well. I’m the same size I have been for a long time and have clothes from 15 years ago that I still wear, but they don’t fit the same as they used to.

    • Squirrelers says

      Good to hear from you. Sage advice from Babci with that potato sack comment, very true! I like that coffee loophole by the way

  3. says

    My most recent post is about considering a gym membership. I argue that it can be good if you have the motivation, if it has what you’re looking for, if it’s priced right, and if barriers to success (in my case, distance from home to the gym and to work) are limited. In my case I *think* I’ve found one that will work out for all of those elements, so I’m thinking I’ll give it a trial run. Have you considered anything along those lines?

    • Squirrelers says

      I’ll have to check out your post. Removing barriers makes sense, in the context of helping one achieve challenging goals

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