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Diet and Personal Finance share many factors

January 1, 2012

The not so delicious shake for breakfast and lunch

This past week I purchased a generic brand of diet shake (you know I would not buy the expensive brand) in an attempt to lose a little weight.

I thought it would be as easy as a delicious shake for breakfast, a delicious shake for lunch and a sensible dinner each day like the commercials say. Shortly into this regimen I replaced that thought with substituting one meal daily with a not-so-delicious shake.

Since this is the first time I have dieted, I went to some websites to get tips. I found a lot of correlations with successful dieting techniques in relation to personal finance. Both, after all, are hugely psychological. Set your mind to losing weight, and set your mind to saving money, and you will be successful.

Below a few dieting tips from “Psychology Today”:

First, do not attempt a diet until you have learned important skills on how to motivate yourself and use good eating habits. When it comes to your money, the first step is to learn how to track your spending on a daily basis and set up a budget to control your spending, which also takes self-motivation.

Another diet tip to keep up the daily motivation is to have a list of reasons why you are trying to lose weight. To stick to your budget, you want to have a similar list of why it is important. Others also keep a list of their debts in a place where they can see it every day.

One of the most important tips is to have an accountability partner. With a diet, there should be someone else who can monitor how it is going. This is true with your financial goals. Let someone know what you are saving for and have him or her check in on you to make sure you are sticking to your goals. With the expectation that someone is going to be checking on you, it helps keep you motivated. I invite all of you when you see me to ask how the diet is going. I could use the help.

With a diet, it is important to realize there is no magic diet to make you lose weight quickly without making any sacrifices. It takes dedication, self-discipline and time. The same is true with money. There are no “get rich quick” schemes that are consistently successful. When someone or the internet entices you in, run in the opposite direction as fast as possible. The small daily steps will get you where you want to be.

Another tip is to change your mind-set about food and eating. It is important for me to realize I can eat what I want or I can be thinner. I can’t have it both ways. This also is true with your money. You can buy that item you want right now, or you can save to have more money down the road. You can’t have it all.

The stakes for having a diet or controlling your money are high. I know I can’t continue to eat like I have. As I look around the community it is easy to see there are not a lot of big older gentlemen. I have always done a pretty good job of managing my money, but there is a chance I won’t live long enough to really enjoy that self-discipline.

As I play with my 4-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son I have strong motivation to stay healthy. It is fun to play with them now, but I want to be around to do fun things with them when they are older. If I continue to gain weight, I won’t be up for a lot of the great memories that will be on the way.

It is hard to change. If you have not been good with your money, it is tough to track spending, set up a budget and stick to it. But it is more important than ever. If you don’t have self-discipline in how you eat and exercise, you have a future of being in poor health. If you don’t budget and manage your money, you have a future of poverty. Neither one is very enticing.

So now I hit week two of the diet. I’ll remember the tips I have learned so far and use them to help me be more successful and to keep me disciplined with how I manage my money. Now on to enjoy my shake.

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