As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead. What is 2018 going to look like? You don’t have to wait around to find out. You can take the initiative to make 2018 amazing and beautiful.
One of the most clichéd New Year’s resolutions is weight loss. It’s a joke. In January, the gyms are packed to the gills. By the end of February, it’s like a skeleton crew on a ghost ship. Interestingly, the same is true with budgeting. The word “budgeting” has about as much glamour as the word “diet.” Nobody wants to hear it. Just hearing the words makes people crunch up their faces into a wrinkled ball of scorn. Yuck.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Budgeting and dieting don’t have to be “Things We’re Mostly Likely To Fail At.” Both practices can become so natural that they become automatic and effortless. Both require similar skills. Because I’m one of those weird people who actually likes both dieting and budgeting, I want to share the similarities I’ve noticed about both practices.
Before I start, let me acknowledge that words are powerful. Let’s change the word diet to “way of eating,” “food choices,” “body fuel,” or whatever floats your boat. I refer to my food choices as a balanced way of eating. Call it whatever sounds good to you. I also budget my money at the beginning of every month. I call it a Spending Plan, not a budget. And I use Everydollar.com to help me.
So, these are the ways I’ve discovered that healthy eating is similar to smart money management:
Both benefit from a written plan. With both money and food calories, it is so easy to lose track of what you’re doing. A couple of cookies here, a trip to McDonald’s there. At the end of the year, you’re somehow carrying around 10 extra pounds. Where did the fat come from? Why won’t it go away? Same is true with money. You put $100 in your wallet. Four days later, there’s $35.00. Or, maybe, you have a zero balance on a credit card, wander into a couple of movies or breeze through a few restaurants, and next thing you know, you’re carrying a balance you can’t pay. Really? How did that happen? You stare at your check stub in disbelief. Where does it all go? (This is why you need a Spending Plan and a Food Plan).
Both require attention to detail. Just as a slab of butter, a little bit of syrup, or a splash of ketchup add up to pounds on the waistline, a magazine here, and a candy bar there add up to an empty wallet. There’s no need to be obsessive. But, at the same time, those “little things” are not nothing. They add up.
Both require delayed gratification. Let’s say you have your planned budget for Christmas. You’ve stuck to it quite nicely. But then you start looking at all the nice things you’ve bought for other people. But, hey! What about you? You want something too, dammit! You look longingly into the store windows, and your eyes fall in love with something. You have to have it. You’ll pay it off later. You want it NOW!! Same thing happens with food. You’re hungry. You were good and went to the grocery store the other day. You know your fridge is full of lovely vegetables. Which you have to…chop. Your nose catches wind of something fried… or barbequed. And, look! There’s a drive-through window! You abandon your vegetables and let them rot. You want some yummy food…NOW!
Both require discipline. Money planning and healthy eating are not punishments. They can be easy and fun. But, in the culture we live in, there is no way to avoid the fact that living successfully requires discipline. It is so easy just screw it and do what everyone else is doing – accruing debt and gaining weight. But, this does not have to be you. With just a little bit of willingness, you can rise above mediocrity and live an excellent life.
Both will set you free if you let them. Having control over your money, and what you put in your mouth, will raise your opinion of yourself. It can be hard, especially at first. But once you master yourself – which is the hardest thing to do, to control your own mind and behavior – there is nothing else out there that will be impossible to you. You will have a quiet confidence about yourself which no one will be able to shake – no man, no woman, no politician, no circumstance. Once you master yourself, you can master anything. And you can turn around and help someone else.
If you want help establishing either a spending plan or a healthy eating plan, consider hiring a wellness coach. At Grown Folks Fitness, that’s what we do. Contact me today for further information.
Peace and love,