Time for belt-tightening


Cut calories and save money.

Exercising, eating right, and saving money aren't my idea of fun, so I was looking for any reason to postpone starting my 2009 resolutions. When I saw that New Year's Day fell on a Thursday, I had my procrastination justification: Weekends aren't the time to begin work on anything. But no matter how I wished it away, Monday still came.

Fresh out of excuses, I woke up at 6 a.m. on Jan. 5 and dragged myself to the treadmill. After a 30-minute walk, I packed a healthy—and cheap—lunch. I've made a solemn vow to use coupons and buy more vegetables when I head to the grocery store. And I swear that before January ends, I will make a deposit in my Roth IRA.

I'm excited about the results these changes will produce. However, I'm being totally honest when I say that I'm not loving the thought of making the necessary, ongoing personal sacrifices. Life is just more enjoyable when I indulge in ice cream and snatch up that new pair of shoes. Of course, my resolutions are simply smart ways to live. I shouldn't really need to force myself to be healthy—physically or financially. I should count my blessings instead of moaning.

After all, the work I'll need to put in to achieve my goals pales in comparison to the uphill climb some veterinary practices face this year. Many clinics are hurting from the recession. Our cover story, Pull through the tough economy, provides six specific actions you can take to help your practice survive this tough economy. (If your practice is thriving despite these rocky times, you'll still benefit from following the suggestions.)

Implementing the advice will take work. You'll probably smile more when you hang out with the puppy in the back than when you comb through the practice's numbers. But you'll love the outcomes from your efforts. By taking an active role in shoring up the profits, you'll be more satisfied with your job, more secure in your employment, and your practice will be more successful.

Focusing on the challenges at work can be rough, especially at first. I know I'll endure sore muscles as I transition from walking to running. But I also know that after a few months, I'll look forward to my morning run. So while it might be difficult to eye the finances, perspire over every word you say to clients, and painstakingly send reminders, you'll be better off for it in the end. Just remember that belt-tightening doesn't seem like fun until you realize your pants fit better.

Kerry Hillard Johnson, Editor


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