This interesting NY Times article shares a recent study that found that people who are good at planning their financial future are more likely to take steps to improve their physical health and become healthier.
These two goals - saving and having good health - have one major thing in common: they require short-term sacrifices in order to create a secure, worry-free future.
This got me thinking about the idea of an emotional 401K.
What steps could I take today to secure a strong emotional future so that in 40 years I’m happy with how I’ve lived and the relationships I’ve developed?
When I look at the great relationship I have with each of my parents from their perspective, I realize all the work they put in to create this connection. I think back to a time when I was 10 and my dad was trying to help me learn math. He practiced extreme patience and kindness that I didn’t truly appreciate until 20 some years later when I wrote about it in Connect to Your One. When he read it, he was surprised I even remembered that moment. What an example of a short-term sacrifice made (I’m sure there were a million things he would have rather done) that paid serious dividends in the form of sharing a loving, happy relationship with his daughter.
If you want to think about your own emotional 401k plan I encourage you to first, think about your goals for your long term emotional health and then, work backwards to determine the actions you can take now to assure you’ll reach those goals in the future. If you want deep relationships with the people in your life (spouse, friends, children, neighbors, etc), what are you doing now to plant those seeds? Perhaps it starts with remembering birthdays or weekly phone calls. Maybe it’s about keeping your promises or having a tough conversation about why a relationship isn’t working.
Or, maybe take my dad’s lead. Help a child with their math homework and see how your life adds up in your 70s! : )
image by Michael Waraksa