How powerful is a "lifestyle change?"
Thursday, January 02, 2014
A common mantra here at Spark People, and wherever else common-sense weight loss advice is dispensed. That is "it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change." I think I took that to heart after being here a few months, but only as it related to diet and exercise. Now, after almost three years, I see that it goes so much farther than that. Changing your health can seep into other areas of your lifestyle in so many powerful, and positive ways if you let it. Maybe it stems from being mindful of our bodies' needs, or maybe it creates more optimism to look forward to the future. Or maybe creating new, healthy habits just frees us up to emotionally deal with other baggage. It's probably a combination of all of this, but I think the most powerful lesson, is that change comes from within.
I am feeling pretty good at this point about my diet and exercise routine, after having experimented with a few different approaches. I can now do all of my workouts either outside or at home, and they fit easily into my schedule. I'm also close to where I need to be with my paleo/primal diet approach, so it is getting easier to implement, too. Now I have some bandwidth freed up to improve other areas of my life!
This past week, I've been focused on money. Getting fit has made me much more aware of how I want to look and feel as I age. In the past, I was focused more on a 5-year future timeframe, and it was really hard to visualize 30, 40 or 50 years down the line. I feel like I'm physically on a good track to enjoy an active and healthy retirement, but not so sure that I'm on track with the financial piece of the puzzle. Suddenly, I've got a fire under me to really improve this area of my life, where I've previously stuck my head in the sand. I've identified areas where I can simplify my life, which I think always leads to saving money (with more complications and less free time, it's harder to cook at home, take time to really consider purchases, or look for that missing "thing" instead of going out and buying a new one), and I've also found some places where I can save some money on my insurance, and cell phone. I bought a squat rack off Craigslist and will be quitting my gym membership, too. My credit cards will be paid off by summer, and then I will open an investment account, something I've been thinking about for years. By the end of the year I plan to be aggressively paying down my car loan. I also did the math and discovered that my husband and I could have our house paid off within 9 years, which would allow him to retire from his current job when he hits the magic 20 year mark, and pursue something more satisfying. That is powerful stuff!
How has your lifestyle change affected other areas of your life? What do you want to work on next?