Sunday, January 1, 2012

Facing Two New Year’s Challenges Head On

What does weight loss have to do with money management?
Photo by vorakorn kanopipat

Last night a lot of people made a lot of resolutions to change themselves in the coming year.  Many of those resolutions have likely been broken already.  In years past, I’ve made resolution after resolution, and it’s always the same ones over and over.  I seem to be stuck in a cycle.

This year, they aren’t resolutions.  For one thing, I didn’t make them last night, and I didn’t start them today.  They’ve been ongoing projects, with clear lines and clear plans of attack.  Two of them are, of course, the perennial favorites:  get my money situation in order and get rid of all this extra weight.  I know – fix finances and lose the weight.  Practically a new year cliché, isn’t it?

Well, maybe so, and with good reason.   For me, these two are intricately tied to each other.  I strongly suspect that by fixing one, I will fix the other.  There’s something in my head that just doesn’t quite work right when it comes to these two subjects.  Both appear to come from a fear of denying myself anything.

Why is this?  What is it that I’m trying to make up for?  Granted, I was never taught the best habits.  I find that I am jealous of those for whom these two things come so easily.  I envy those people who claim to love vegetables and exercise.  I’m flabbergasted by those for whom money management is practically second nature.  I feel angry that I’m not one of them, that I have to struggle.  I’m angry that I never learned these skills from my parents (sorry Mom and Dad, I know you read here and I’m not trying to throw you under the bus, but you have to agree that these skills weren’t exactly well-modeled).  I’m angry at myself that for some reason I continue to struggle. 

I’m not a stupid person.  I know perfectly well that eat less + exercise more = lose weight, and spend less + save more = good money management.  But putting those things in practice… it’s a constant struggle.  I can complain until I’m blue in the face about how hard it is to buy healthy food on a budget, and it’s true that it’s a challenge, but I also must make the choice to take that challenge on.  I’m educated, I have no excuse.  I know how to fix healthy meals – I just prefer the taste of salt and fat.

I can complain about how I can’t afford Weight Watchers or a personal trainer – but I do have access to many free programs that can help me and provide practically the same tools.  I can complain about not making enough money, or I can learn to properly manage what I already have.  And when I choose to waste money on meals out or junk food, that is a choice that impacts both areas and affects my progress on both fronts.

So.  I have a plan. I’m dealing with both.  I’m aware of the problem and I’m actively working on a solution.  My mantra for 2012?  No excuses.  No bitching about the problem unless I can find a solution for it.  There’s plenty of things in life that are completely out of my control.  Those things are the ones I should be complaining about. These are the things I can fix.  

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