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In a day in age where we have access to all sorts of health food, exercise equipment, and free workout videos on YouTube, it’s a wonder more than one-third of Americans are overweight.
Just eat less and exercise more — they cry — but if you’ve ever attempted a feat like that, it can be really difficult for someone who is told 20 different ways to do just that.
- Should I eat low fat and less calories, or follow a real food plan that encourages fat and eliminates processed foods?
- Should I start a walking regimen, or work on toning muscles to burn fat?
- Should I try Slim-fast, or Nutri-system, or Weight Watchers, or some other program that I see all the time on TV?
The options are pretty overwhelming, and any one of those habits takes time to implement…time that you probably don’t have a whole lot of to give.
Saving money is the exact same way. Die-hard couponers say the first step in decreasing an “overweight” grocery bill is to get out the scissors. Others say credit cards are bad and to cut them up immediately – use cash only! While some think they are OK to use as long as you pay them off every month to take advantage of rewards.
With so many voices telling us what we should and should not do, eventually, we just stop trying. The 5 minute high that comes from eating a big bowl of chocolate ice cream or buying a new pair of shoes is just too tempting to resist, and we start the endless cycle of hating who we’ve become, yet again.
While I haven’t found the perfect solution to a thin waist and a fat wallet, there are a few ways you can pick yourself back up and try again – this time with a little more determination and a big change in your mindset.
1. Tell Yourself No
Self-talk may sound a little silly, but it can do wonders for life change, both in money matters and in your health. Tell yourself what goals you want to accomplish in the next few weeks or months, then write each one of them down on a list you will see everyday. Mine is hanging right on the front of my fridge so I won’t forget what I’m striving towards!
Post-it notes are also one of my favorite reminder tools. Use them on candy if you are trying to cut down on sweets, or place them on your credit card, and consistently ask yourself if this purchase is worth the guilt you’ll feel afterwards, or if it helps you reach one of your future financial goals.
Then work on creating a foolproof process to help you get there.
2. Start Small
Whenever I feel completely overwhelmed, it’s often because I’m trying to change too much, all at once. Instead of putting my focus on doing one thing well, I picked 5-6 different things to do half-heartedly.
When starting a new healthy living routine, it’s easy to focus on eating right and exercising all at the same time, but choosing to work on just one aspect is much more doable. Once 30 minutes of exercise each morning becomes a habit, then introduce more fruits and veggies into your diet, or say no to an extra dessert.
When it comes to money, it’s really easy to overwhelm yourself by tackling debt, start an emergency fund, buy a new car, and still have enough saved for a Summer vacation. Go back through your list and decide what is important for you to do first. It may be that you actually need to start with a budget, to get your money under control, then add additional goals on top of that.
It’s the baby steps that will lead you to a new and improved lifestyle, and one you can be proud of.
3. Switch Up Your Routine
One of the main reasons I fail so often at change, is because I get bored doing the same thing all the time. Exercise used to be my nemesis, because I just could not imagine walking a treadmill everyday, or doing the same Jillian Michaels workout 5 days a week. It drives me crazy!
While I’m all for developing a consistent routine, I’m also a big advocate of changing it up so you have variety within that routine. For example, I still exercise every morning, but alternate outdoor walks with M5 Fitness, a membership site that gives you access to a whole range of videos for less than a month at the gym.
If you start to get bored with saving, resist the urge to spend by trying something completely new.
Learn about couponing, or try making a pantry staple or cleaning solution from scratch. Purge your closet and host a swap, or sell books you’ll never read again on Amazon. One of the reasons I love talking about saving money and living frugally, is because there are so many ways in which to do those things!
I know how easy it is to give up when trying to implement a big change, but I also know you can do this.
Look at yourself in the mirror, and give yourself that pep talk. Tell yourself that today is going to be different and you are going to say NO to the things that weigh you down, and YES to positive changes. – both in your physical, and your financial health!
Because it’s not about being the best right away, but more about the daily progress we make towards our goals. It’s the only way you’ll challenge yourself to become the person you really want to be…and really succeed.
What’s your secret to lifelong change?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here,