What Can Doing Your Taxes Teach You About Better Fitness?

Well, tomorrow is one of the least favorite days for American taxpayers.

It’s the final day to submit your tax returns without incurring a penalty – unless you have already filed for an extension. And even if you get an extension, you still have to pay what you THINK you owe by tomorrow…or be hit with another penalty.

I was reminded of tax day during this morning’s trip to our local post office. I dropped off some orders I was shipping to customers, nd couldn’t help but notice that the line at the counter was longer than normal.

When I lived in Northern Virginia, I used to ship my orders from the Merrifield Regional post office. This post office was -and is – featured on the local, and sometimes even national, news every year on tax day. It’s incredible to see people in a long traffic jam, using the improvised drive-through that the post office sets up. It beats trying to get inside, where it’s wall-to-wall people.

The post office stays open until midnight, for those brave people who wait until the ultimate last minute to do their taxes.

I’ve never understood this obsession with waiting until the last minute to mail in your taxes. Some people do it deliberately, and with pride, every year…year after year.

I guess it’s their way of “stickin’ it to the man”, not giving up a blessed cent, nor filling out those dastardly forms, until the last possible moment.

The annual tax deadline is instructive. It demonstrates how much more efficient you can be when you have a deadline — either self-imposed or mandated from some external force, such as the long arm of the tax man.

For example, I usually complete my taxes by the end of February or early March.

Because preparing taxes is such a tedious process, I break down  the overall task into smaller steps: gather the statements and records I need; organize everything; complete the P&L statement and document deductions; complete the returns on Turbotax; file everything away.

Doing this in steps involved a little time each day over a period of a week or so. Not a terrible process – but not terribly efficient, either.

This year, however, I procrastinated…and had to complete my taxes this weekend. With my back against the wall, I cranked through the record gathering, organization, calculations and statements, and completed and filed my tax returns within about three hours.Plus I also cleaned out old records and reorganized files and folders so I am better organized for the coming year.

What had taken me a week or more to get done in previous years…I completed in only a few hours this year.

Talk about the power of a deadline!

The deadline is a powerful tool to apply to any important action you want to take – or know you should take – to improve your life or your health.

As an example, you may be good about working out on a regular basis.

But you may begin your workout without a plan as to what you are going to do, and how long your workout is going to last. So you may dawdle and do less effective exercises. You may not reach the level of intensity you need to, for long enough, to propel yourself forward toward your fitness and health goals.

As an alternative, even if you have all the time in the world for your next workout (is that true of anyone anymore?), try setting a time limit for yourself.

Set a deadline of one hour from now and get going.

You’ll immediately notice a significant change in your approach. You’ll be forced to plan what you are going to do, and for how long.

You may budget 10 minutes for warming up, then move into a more intense cardio workout for 20 minutes. Then you will spend 20 minutes on strength training, followed by 10 minutes to cool down and stretch.

Of course, you can train in such a way as to combine these separate activities as well. A lot of that is driven by your breathing, and with the level of intensity you bring to each activity and exercise. This approach is what I teach in the Best Breathing Exercises programs.

With a deadline-driven approach, you don’t have time to dawdle or dilly-dally. You automatically move from exercise to exercise with more efficiency. You focus better, and you get more done in one hour than you might have achieved in two hours during your “old” way of working out.

This approach offers an outstanding way to increase the quality, intensity – and results – of your fitness program, or any other endeavor that is important to you.

You Can Do It!



“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!” http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. The great copywriter, John Carlton, is fond of saying, “The deadline is mankind’s greatest invention – because without it, nothing would ever get done!” Use this powerful tool in your own life and see how much more focused and productive you become.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2012

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