The risk of doing nothing

The risk of doing nothing

Doing nothing is a choice no matter if it’s ignoring that funny looking mole that scares the dickens out of you or choosing not to improve your work skills in an increasingly tech-savvy workplace. Sometimes, doing nothing is just the right choice – except when it’s not. But, let’s take a look at where doing nothing might come back to bite you.


Every study and every health care provider will tell you that the key to wellness and longevity is eating a proper diet and getting regular exercise. Doing nothing to improve your diet or to make exercise part of your daily routine increases your chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

People who “go on a diet” often lose five to ten pounds only to find it again hiding in their refrigerators, at restaurants and convenience stores – calories that magically migrate to our thighs, stomachs and chin(s). The key to improving your diet is to change your diet; eat whole grains instead of the white stuff; eat fruit for dessert instead of that sugar/starch/fat confection; avoid the cheese and add more vegetables and spices. Over time, you’ll crave the good stuff and find the bad stuff uncomfortable to eat.

For exercise, a walk down the road or around the block after dinner is a good start to keep limber. You can add another stroll in the morning before breakfast. If more vigorous exercise is attractive, do some stretches, sit-ups and muscle strengthening while you watch the evening news or your favorite evening programming. Throw in some stretches to keep your muscles supple.

And about that mole. If it has uneven edges and is discolored, it will take no time for a doctor to decide if it needs attention or if it’s just a sign of aging.


Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” It’s not that he’s wrong but it won’t cut it for long if you’re not doing the other twenty percent to upgrade your skills for the work you do. Learning is a lifelong endeavor that often has financial rewards. A college grad will earn 66 percent more than someone with only a high school diploma over a lifetime. By some estimates, that’s more than a $1 million difference.

To change your prospects for financial security, consider enrolling in a certificate course at your local university or going back to school to start or finish your degree.

Home Repairs

You also can do nothing when it comes to maintaining your home. That rotting board on the deck, the loose handrail on the stairs or that little roof leak when it rains are clear signals that doing nothing will lead to bigger problems. When it comes to structural issues, it’s more than having something break, it’s the injury that goes with it that can be a lot more expensive. Falling through the deck (liability claim), tumbling down the stairs (medical bills) or having the ceiling fall on you (hospitalization) costs a lot more than keeping your home maintained.

Cars, trucks and vans

Pushing those bald tires until you can’t get an inspection sticker is another “do nothing” strategy. The way they manufacture tires these days, the inner core has lots of life. But it’s the tread that matters. It grips the road particularly when it rains or snows. Talk to any puddle out there and it will tell you it gets excited to see a nice bald tire coming down the road because it’s fun to see a car hydroplane. Don’t wait to be told you can’t get a sticker. It’s more than just your life involved.

Updating Insurance

Not updating your insurance agent about home improvements, new “toys”, kids going away to college or an inheritance can mean missing a chance to increase or decrease your coverage. Having money in the bank may mean you can afford a higher deductible which means lower premiums. Having a child “away” at college will generate a credit on your auto policy as will knowing their stellar academic performance for a “good student” discount. As for unknown home improvements, if something happens, the insurance policy’s limits may not cover all the lost value of your home or business.

If you really want to do nothing, do as much as you can to improve your health, safety and financial security so you can have a lot more leisure time for yourself.

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