How Bad Do You Want It?

You SAY you want to lose weight, get in shape, make or save more money, but how BAD do you really want it? This past weekend I was hanging out at one of the local CBVA (beach volleyball) tournaments, cheering on some friends. I had just played six fun games myself, and was feeling a bit dissatisfied with my mid section, as I could “feel it” as I was running around the court. I don’t go much with numbers on the scale as much as I do with checking in on how I “feel.” Then I had the added bonus of seeing some super toned people playing as I was eating my sandwich. It was at the moment that I declared that I would work on my mid section once and for all…

…of course it’s not the first time I’ve declared this. :)

Later that night I went to a friend’s birthday party at a restaurant, armed with the idea that I would have one drink, then head home to eat my healthy version of a taco salad. Well, you know that first beer tasted so good (Kona Firerock Pale Ale), and I haven’t been out socially in forever, so that one drink turned into two, followed by an appetizer because I was starving, followed by being a little to tipsy too drive home, so I went out to dinner. At least I did order something sensible (grilled salmon), but the damn bread with hummus and olive tapenade they gave us beforehand was just too good to pass up.

On Sunday I was “fully committed” to my new plan of six-pack abs, and started off my day well with a volleyball class. It was really windy so I didn’t get in any extra games, but I was on a sensible food plan for the day. Then my cousin called me out of the blue and was in town, and wanted to take me out to eat. What? Out to eat two days in a row? Well when it’s on his expense account, how could I say no?

He chose a seafood restaurant, and although the appetizer and main course were pretty healthy, the &%*$%^ bread (and it was really warm and squishy and herbed and shit) tempted me once again.

So apparently1357459869_b73bc8591d_oy I want flat abs, but am I really THAT committed to the goal? How bad do I really want it? Apparently at this point, not bad enough!

It’s hard sometimes when it comes to losing weight, getting in shape, revamping our dating life, finding a new job, or saving money, to sometimes stay fully committed. Sometimes we are blessed to have it all, like the friends I know who can eat anything they want and still have a flat tummy. Or in the case of finances, the friends you know who earn good money and don’t have to worry about counting every penny. But you’re not them and they’re not you. If you want what you want…what you REALLY want, sometimes you have to make sacrifices (I’m looking at you, carbs!).

If I REALLY want to not have a poochy belly, I have to stay committed to eating a low carb/sugar and high protein diet. My body doesn’t give a crap that I like wine, cheese, bread, and chocolate, and want to have good abs too. Whaaaaaaaaaaa! :( All my body is saying to me is, “welcome to 43, bitch.” :)

Food and spending temptations seem to be closely related. The Universe tends to tease us sometimes. It’s like the more committed to a goal we are, the more temptation we face. OK seriously, I’ve been sitting at home bored and watching Netflix for a month, and now when I commit to having a tight tummy…NOW I get all these social invites. Cute Universe, cute.

Like this weekend I’m going to a friend’s birthday potluck type party. And I’m faced with a choice: give in and adapt the YOLO attitude and have a great time, or stand my ground and fully commit to my goal (and you know, still have fun but with friends potentially giving me a hard time). :)

I think sometimes we in the PF community talk a lot about what we want out of life, but often times our actions fall short:

  • “I REALLY want to pay off my debt” (yet an acquaintance is getting married in Venice and it would be really fun to go).
  • “I REALLY want to earn more money” (but I’m tired at the end of my work day and just want to chill out).
  • “I REALLY want to lose weight” (but I’ll start my diet after my friend’s birthday).

We can find excuses if we really try hard. Heck, we don’t really even have to try that hard do we?

What do you REALLY want right now? What are you willing to do to make it happen?

Read the follow up to this post here! 


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • eemusings (NZMuse)

    My belly is definitely softening yet I’ve been for maybe one run in the last six weeks. Sigh.

    The one thing I REALLY want is out of my control alas – for T to find a job.

    • Tonya

      Yeah that’s tough when there isn’t too much you can do about it. I’m super motivated right now for the same thing. And so far I’ve been very committed there.

  • Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses

    I really want to get fit again, and lose a couple extra pounds to fit into my jeans better. But I’ve got such a bad habit of indulging. I love food! I’m hoping I’ll have more motivation to go outside and run as the weather becomes warmer.

    • Tonya

      I know I love food too. I used to be able to just work it off, but not so much anymore. :( Good luck with your journey!

  • Dear Debt

    My belly is my problem area, though not much of a problem. This is my favorite line out of this: “and it was really warm and squishy and herbed and shit”. This is why I love you and I relate to you, lol. I realized that sometimes I talk about wanting to get out of debt, but I then spend my money on going out. I need to put my money where my mouth is, and also not take on so much work in some cases. It’s all about that ever elusive balance.

    • Tonya

      oh yes that wonderful balance. That kind of used to work for me in the food dept but not so much anymore. Ergh the 40’s. I mean I need to be super disciplined…so much for balance. grumble grumble.

  • debtfreeoneday

    This is such a well timed post for me Tonya as I’ve definitely been letting myself go a little lately in the weight department. I have always battled with my weight going from fairly slim to busting out of my clothes every single year. At the moment, I’m around 15lbs heavier than where I want to be and people are noticing. When people notice, I feel like crap! So I’m on a diet, it’s mostly low sugar and low carb too and it’s tough. I really like crisps and wine and chocolate and these are having to go out of the window right now. This post made me laugh out loud just because I can relate so much. :)

    • Tonya

      It seems many of the commenters are dealing with the same thing. I don’t know exactly what crisps are, but if they are anything like crackers man do I know. I had to stop buying them! :)

  • Catherine

    Oh man do I related. I do really well with diet for like 3 days then fall off for 4 back on for 3 (which is probably why I maintain but dont lose). I recognize that it’s my lack of consistency as well I find if I totally deprive myself of things I love when they are around me I totally bing (like bread, nutella, granola). I also need to keep myself more accountable!

    • Tonya

      I know that 3 or 4 days totally rocks, but then it feels too hard. Again I have to ask myself how bad I want it, because wishing won’t help. I wish. lol!

  • Holly Johnson

    Ugh, I can relate! My husband can eat 5,000 calories a day and look great, so I have to be extremely careful. He’s always one to say, “let’s make brownies!” I just have to ignore what he’s eating most of the time.

    • Tonya

      ugh, so annoying, isn’t it? :)

  • Challenge Mantra

    I really want to have a flat stomach, too! I started the year off with a Health and Fitness challenge, and have packed on more weight and stomach layer than when I started. I was theorizing with my husband that going paleo with mildly frequent cheats could be the problem… several of my co-workers are scientists and fitness nuts and confirmed it. Don’t make my mistake! :)

    It’s good to have a goal, but also remember that you’re doing it for YOU and not to go overboard on it. If you {generally speaking} find yourself distracted from your goal, then maybe it’s not the right one for you.

    • Tonya

      I got mushy when I started training for a half marathon. Go figure. I would never go overboard on anything (never been extreme like that), and the reality is I’ll never have washboard abs and that’s totally OK…I just don’t want to “move around” when I’m running, so that’s my “realistic” goal. :)

  • Kali @ Common Sense Millennial

    I have been trying to get my diet and exercise routine back where it needs to be – exercising is certainly easier than saying no to warm, fresh bread, though! I try to strike a balance, by eating 80% healthy and clean and cutting myself some slack on that other 20%. It probably won’t get me to six-pack abs (boooo) but it will keep me sane :)

    • Tonya

      Usually exercise would work for me because I like doing that more than I like giving up things, but my 43 year old body is saying nope. :) You gotta work hard in the food dept now too. :)

  • Kathleen O’Malley

    ha you read my mind. I just joined a gym, and have committed to drinking no booze in April. Also I’m making a green smoothie every day. I want to be in shape for my wedding, and my life.

    • Tonya

      Nice!!! I hope it all goes very well for you! I did a 30 day no alcohol challenge once and I felt like more of an alcoholic than ever, because not being able to have one drink made me want it more. lol! I’m actually a very light drinker…I just joke about it as if I drink more. :)

  • alwayshungry4

    LOL at the ‘cute universe, cute’ – doesn’t that always seem to be the case? Not to be all creeper, but I think you look as fit as can be! I know what you mean, though, about not feeling like you have your A game, but from the outside looking in I think you look awesome. I admit I’ve been feeling a little lazy myself and making poor food choices with catching up with friends (oh, hey, Slater 50/50!), but I think once spring weather starts coming up, I’ll get back into it (hopefully at least!).

    • Tonya

      I’ve still never eaten there! Probably a good thing because I might like it too much. Fortunately I don’t have close by me. Thank you for your kind words. Overall I’m in decent shape, but I have a stubborn middle…and when you wear a bikini to play a sport you notice it more.

  • Kim

    Ha! We are on the same plan! I started my quest last week and am on vacation this week. Maybe not so smart in the timing. It does make me mad how much harder it is at this point in life. I used to be able to cut back a little bit and see results right away. I seriously went on a 3 day juice fast last week and lost 1 pound. I’m really doing it more for health, but would be lying if I didn’t want to tone up and drop a little weight too. Hang in there, we’ll fight the bread together!

    • Tonya

      Stupid bread! Yes vacations are tough to be disciplined. As far as how much you have to do to stay in shape? oh I get it. I feel like I have to work twice as hard and be twice as disciplined nowadays.

  • Girl Meets Debt

    Cute post Tonya. This post is so timely because I’ve started the hunt for my perfect wedding dress and I can’t help but notice that the super pretty gowns seem to be made for slim, fit people. :( If a wedding doesn’t push me to lose weight I don’t know what will! Why don’t I have the same motivation to lose weight as I do with paying down my debt? One of my life’s mysteries. :)

    • Tonya

      Well I think one thing is because having multiple goals is sometimes challenging. It’s hard to “do it all.” Good luck finding your dress!

  • Done by Forty

    Such a good post, Tonya. I fool myself all the time about what I supposedly really want. The proof is in the pudding…that I’m not supposed to eat.

    Our actions are better indicators of our desires than anything, aren’t they?

    • Tonya

      The proof is in the pudding…that I’m not supposed to eat. ha ha ha! I know, right?

  • Brian @ Luke1428

    Incredibly true. Our actions reveal our level of commitment. It does no good to say “I want to do this thing” if you cannot follow through. It simply becomes wishful thinking without the commitment.

    • Tonya

      yes some things I’ve very good about being committed to (like this blog), and some other things are tougher.

  • Andrew

    I like Brian’s comment. For some reason, this makes me think of the quote “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are” Similarly, you might say you REALLY want to do something, but you’re not taking actions to accomplish that goal…do you REALLY want it?

    • Tonya

      Yes exactly. I see this a lot in debt repayment blogs too. I want to pay off my debt but…which is OK as long as you are aware it’s going to take longer.

  • Shannon Ryan

    Sometimes I think life likes to play little games with us. You say you’re committed, well let’s so how committed you really are. You know your body best but from the pictures I’ve seen of you playing volleyball, you look pretty toned to me. I definitely have noticed as I’ve gotten older (and I have a few years on you, my friend) that I have to work harder to maintain. Doesn’t seem quite fair!

    • Tonya

      ha ha yes. LIfe is testing me! Overall I feel healthy and toned…just that damned mid-section which has always been a trouble zone.

  • Lisa vs. the Loans

    I am so with you! It’s been difficult for me to make healthy choices practically all my life. What’s been helping me is taking it step-by-step, choice-by-choice. Once I start focusing on ALL of the decisions I have to make, I get overwhelmed and it’s easy for me to just say EFF IT. Taking it one choice at a time really helps my mind focus.

    • Tonya

      one choice at a time is a good way to think about it. Otherwise yes it because overwhelming!

  • thefrugalweds

    Great questions, Tonya!
    We are always at odds with this because the Hubs and I LOVE to eat out and explore. But when we look at holes in our budget, it’s typically money eating out that’s a big cost we can drastically bring down. I think we take it one day at a time. We’ve cut it down to once per week, but we’re trying to see if we can do it once a month! (Man, i sound like I’m trying to quit smoking! LoL!!)

    • Tonya

      ha ha I think habits are habits and very similar in nature when trying to quit. I think I’d rather try and break the eating out cycle though that quit smoking. That seems really hard! Good luck!

  • Mackenzie

    I don’t know why exercise goals are so hard! I am such an on-and-off exerciser…right now I’m in the “meh” phase. :) Also, I might start using your “Cute universe, cute” saying. I love it!!!!

    • Tonya

      I do that more with food. Sometimes I say meh and just eat what I enjoy, then sometimes, especially after a bikini day I get on board. ha ha! Yes that darn Universe! He/She is very cheeky.

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    I also want to earn more money, but during at night I feel so very exhausted and I really want to jump into my bed. Just like also I’m trying to lose some weight, but I can’t help but to eat more and more.

    • Tonya

      I think you; answered the question then! :)

  • DC @ Young Adult Money

    It’s true, everyone talks about what they want to do, but sometimes (most times?) actions fall short of achieving those goals. I’d say the one thing I want is financial independence, and I would argue I’ve been putting in the hours at work as well as after work to achieve it. I’ve seen some progress, but I need to continue to move forward if I want to make that goal a reality.

    • Tonya

      I don’t doubt for a second you’re a hard worker trying to achieve that goal! I’ll bet you will!

  • Heather @ Run Like a G!

    I don’t think your body was calling you a “b****!” Your body loves you :)
    Right now in my life I really want to start a savings account and get out of some minor debt. I have been really good when friends are like “let’s go out to eat.” I have been honest and said no I can’t. They all understand. Then we will have dinner at home and it is much more enjoyable! Plus spring is here and that means we can do FREE things outside! Win-win for all :)
    Plus, I got a second job so I am so looking forward to dumping $$ into my savings account!

    • Tonya

      I know I was just trying to be funny. :) I would never take my body for granted. I hardly eat out myself, so that makes it easier both financially and for my waistline. I think for me it’s about smaller, daily choices which I can try to manage and do things differently slowly. Congrats on the second job!

  • Liz

    I would really really like be one of those people with a crazy amazing metabolism! Not sure I can change that though. I guess I would really like to improve both my health and payoff my debt. Both are marathons and not sprints. I find it challenging to stay committed sometimes… Especially when it involves delicious food like pizza : )

    • Tonya

      Both are marathons and not sprints. So true. It seems pizza is a weakness for a lot of people!

  • E.M.

    First of all, I think you look great and nowhere near 40. I also tend to listen to my body instead of paying attention to numbers. I’ve been meaning to eat healthier and things do get in the way as that’s life! I go back and forth on some things when I really need to make a commitment. If I can get through one month of consistent healthy choices that would be great. Damn temptations; at least I’ve been able to part with bread for the most part. Good luck!

    • Tonya

      What’s your secret to giving up bread? lol! Thank you for the compliment. :) I go with how I feel too. Usually my number hardly ever change, but my body composition does.

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance

    Ha! I know exactly what you mean. I’m still working off some winter weight… from 2012. But you look awesome Tonya. Working out and getting in shape really does take a commitment, just like finances. But the more you work at it, the easier it gets. Free food is just sooo hard to say no to!

    • Tonya

      I know I’d rather work out then give up some food items, but I really need to do more of the food. Nothing big, but some small changes will help.

  • Savvy WorkingGal

    I lost weight two years ago for a family wedding and as of this morning I have gained all of that weight back. I keep saying I’m giving sweets up for lent. Tomorrow I will eat less. My diet will begin when I start my colonoscopy. Then yesterday I read an interesting comment from Laura Vanderkam the Author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

    “Don’t make perfect the enemy of good. People tell me a lot that they want to start exercise, or cooking more, or whatever, and they’re going to do it 5 times a week! And I think, how about once? Once is good. If you aim for once you’ll hit it. Aim for 5 and you won’t and we’ll be back at square one. We have too many stories of transformational change out there. Not as many epiphanies in real life. Just grinding things out.”

    So this afternoon I’m going to eat my apple, but then I have no choice someone ate the last cookie in the lunchroom – not that I was keeping track!

    • Tonya

      Yes I think sometimes people go too big for their goals and then fail and give up entirely. I’ll have a follow up post about this article this week about baby steps.

  • Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    Damn delicious bread! I totally know what you mean. There’s a big difference of knowing what to do and actually making the sacrifices to do it and follow through.

    • Tonya

      I know bread is just insanely good! :) And yes, very true!

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Good post Tonya! I’ve been dealing with similar feelings myself over the past few months, and finally got to the point that I was sick and tired of “wanting” something yet seeing myself doing jack squat to accomplish it. For me it’s health related and have wanted to work on it for some time but found that it wasn’t until I got tired of putting it off that I saw what I needed to start doing to accomplish it. It’s not easy, by any means, but worth the sacrifice in the long run. As for the bread…that gets me every blasted time. :)

    • Tonya

      I think it’s all about inertia…once it’s integrated into your life, it’s hard to live without. You never realized how bad you felt before until you exercise on most days, then you get accustomed to feeling good and would do anything to keep that up.

  • Michelle

    Love this post. It’s like you’re reading my mind! There are several items on my “to do” list that have not been addressed. Health is a huge issue for me and I’m working on adjusting things so I can stick with a plan to manage what is worrying me about my health.

    • Tonya

      I like making those small adjustments too. I used to be a diet coke (only one per day though) addict and now I can have one every once in a great while and be OK. For me now it’s carbs and sugar (leaning mostly toward sugar).

  • Daisy @ Credit Walk

    Tonya, I love this post because I was JUST thinking about it. There are three things I really, really want right now: 1) To be healthy, and for my body to look super healthy as well. 2) To make more money and 3) to travel extensively.

    I realized when I did a budget that considering how much money I spend on little luxuries, I will never be able to quit my job and travel the world before kids. Which means that I need to evaluate how bad I want it and make some sacrifices.

    I also realized that I say I want to be healthy and fit and look good, but I give in to chips and chocolate far too often. I’ve been successful in losing some weight and I am by no means heavy, but I need to take it the extra step.

    The only one of my “I wants” that I have actually been meeting is making more money.

    • Tonya

      Glad to hear you’ve been meeting your money expectations. I think sometimes when we take on too much, it’s hard to achieve everything. I’ve always been a fan of baby step, unless a situation was dire like being very overweight and having your health in jeopardy or money wise about to lose your home.

  • DEBt DEBs

    Finding the balance is key. I’m still looking LOL
    At least now with the nice weather coming (we still have snow here but it’s melting) it will be easier to get out and exercise. Good luck with your abs!

    • Tonya

      Yes that always helps!

  • Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies

    Sometimes we lack motivation. That’s what it comes down to. I guess it’s normal, it’s just the way life is sometimes. These days I really lack motivation to work out and eat healthy. I am too lazy to do a workout and all I seem to want to eat is a giant pizza! Come Monday and it’s all going to change… I guess :))

    • Tonya

      ha that infamous Monday declaration. :)

  • Erika Newlyweds

    I REALLY want to lose 10 pounds, but I also enjoy indulging on the weekends. I realize that I’ve been making myself unahppy by stepping on that scale. So I decided to get rid of it. I am not stepping on the scale for the next three weeks and just testing it out. I feel comfortable in my own skin so I hate that I place so much emphasis on a number.

    • Tonya

      I can almost always tell what I weigh before even stepping on the scale. I go by my clothes and how I feel. I don’t even really care about the number really. I’m working on making some small adjustments so it doesn’t make life miserable.

  • Erin @ My Alternate Life

    I really want to ramp up my income. I’m working on seeking out freelance opportunities, as well as exploring more permanent options. So far, so good, but I have a long way to go!

    I will never want a flat stomach more than I want bread :)

    • Tonya

      I probably would be OK with it too if I didn’t play a sport in a bikini! :) I want to ramp up my income as well, but I also have limits to what I will do or things I’m willing to sacrifice to get that. I accept that.

  • Tahnya Kristina

    OH I’ve been there…several times. I usually avoid my cravings but for some things, like ice cream, I usually give in. Working out afterwards makes me feel better. Pizza is my total weakness, I don’t even try to fight the temptation. I don’t eat meat so pizza isn’t that bad. I order it with lots of sauce, veggies and easy on the cheese. It’s perfect…I think I’ll go get a slice.

    • Tonya

      ha ha How was it? I think at this point I’m going to work on cutting small things out here and there. Depriving oneself of some of our favorite things is a recipe for disaster. That’s when benders happen.

  • Megan Michael

    Very good post… There’s lots of things we WANT, but are we willing to make the sacrifices?? I think you need to ask yourself WHY do you want six pack abs? Will you be happier? Will it change your life? Will it help you reach other goals you have? (Maybe fitness/health related?) Maybe you could make some smaller goals that will help you reach your six pack goal? Small goals you can deal with and still enjoy your life!

    • Tonya

      I’ll actually have a follow up post about this…hopefully tomorrow as I have a busy day, but it’s something I think I can find a happy medium on. Basically a ton”er” tummy and better food choices all around, but nothing like ripped abs. I’m not willing to do EVERYTHING it takes to get that! :)

      • Free to Pursue

        LOL. I’ve had the abs once before. The work to get there was INSANE! Worst of all, as soon as I got them, I went into a carb coma for a week. Too much sacrifice can really backfire!

  • MakintheBacon

    What I really want right now, at this moment is a nap. Lol.
    I often make excuses and I complain even a hell of a lot more, but there are certain things that I want. I am well aware I have to just suck it up, make the necessary sacrifices to get the things I want. At first, they may seem like sacrifices because we feel like we’re being deprived of something, but over time they may end up turning into a good habit, which in turn saves you some money.
    I think the things that we truly, really want are often the hardest to attain/achieve, but yet the most satisfying when we do actually attain /achieve them.
    Now I want pizza…and maybe wings…

  • J. Money

    That is by far the best picture I’ve seen all week, haha… and the words weren’t too bad either ;) KEEP MOTIVATED!!

  • Free to Pursue

    “If you want what you want…what you REALLY want, sometimes you have to make sacrifices.” So true. Why is there such a chasm between knowing and doing?

  • Michael Saves

    You are so right. I have a reunion in a few weeks and I would like to just get in a little better shape… and I’ve been trying to break a decades-long habit of biting the skin around my fingernails… I know it’s gross. I am hoping that by writing out my goal.. it will hold me accountable.