Everywhere you look right now, there are promotions and advertisements for new diets that are guaranteed to work and change your life. You cannot escape the barrage of magazine covers, social media campaigns, and release of new diet books. In January, it seems like these new diets are everywhere.
I have learned over the years that fad diets do not work. If they do work, the results are often only temporary. As soon as you go back to a somewhat normal eating plan, the weight returns immediately. It is a real bummer if you ask me. I would love to swallow a magic pill, or guzzle some green detox drink, and miraculously look the same as I did the day I graduated from high school. However, what I have learned since turning the Big 4-0 is that a long term plan, true commitment, and hard work are what it actually takes to maintain a healthy weight. I have finally adopted a long-term mindset regarding my health and my weight. I want to be active and have energy to keep up with my children. My husband and I love to travel. I want to be able to hike a mountain, go on a water slide with my kids, and enjoy all that this magnificent world has to offer. One day, I want to still be active and healthy enough to be an involved grandmother, God willing. I will not be able to do that if I do not COMMIT today to eating healthy and exercising regularly. There is no shortcut.
As I have embraced this long-term view of being healthy, I have begun to understand that it is a numbers game. Numbers are my wheelhouse so this makes sense to me. You have to burn more calories than you take in. You have to exercise to increase your metabolism enough to burn extra calories to create a “deficit” in order to lose weight.
The same reality exists for starting a savings plan. There is no quick fix financial diet. It takes commitment and having a plan in place that you can follow and maintain. If you want financial freedom, you have to spend less money than you make each month. The first step in starting a savings plan is having a very realistic budget. If you do not know what you are spending each month, then you have no idea how much money you actually have available to contribute to a regular, systematic savings plan. I have provided a very detailed budget worksheet for my email subscribers for your convenience. I have done the hard work for you! All you have to do is fill in the blanks and you will have your budget in place. This worksheet is normally reserved only for my personal clients. However, I am on mission to empower everyone to take control of their financial lives so they can live a more fruitful and peaceful life. Having a realistic budget and beginning a systematic savings plan is the very first step!
People often procrastinate when starting a new savings plan. It falls into the same category as starting a new diet. You fear you are going to be restricted and miss out on the fun stuff. Diet and save are both considered to be ugly four letter words. “Let’s eat that last ice cream sundae today, and then I will start my new diet plan tomorrow.” But then tomorrow comes and you get asked to go out to dinner for Mexican food. “Oh well, one more day won’t hurt to put off starting the new diet plan. Right?” And so on and so on…however, what you need is a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet.
Friend, accept your new assignment and start moving forward. Don’t think of saving money as a punishment. Think of saving money as a means to freedom. It is a disciplined choice you can make today to benefit yourself and your family tomorrow. If you take control of your finances today, then you won’t be a victim to them tomorrow. Nobody is making you save money or spend irresponsibly. By saving regularly, you are choosing a better life for yourself.
If you want to dig deeper and have a much better understanding of how to achieve true financial freedom from a Biblical worldview, then I encourage you to purchase a copy of my newly released book: Faithful Finance: Money Essentials and Biblical Principles. It is available for sale on my website or on Amazon. You can download a book for your kindle, nook, or e-book on Amazon or purchase a hardback copy of the book.
Your new disciplined lifestyle in regards to achieving financial freedom may require supernatural strength to take a positive step forward. There are several ways to gather the strength you will need. Spend time in God’s Word. Pray for wisdom, energy, and focus. Meet with someone you trust who can provide wise counsel and a rational sounding board. Continue to check back with me regularly and often. I will be providing advice, tips, and encouragement for you to learn how to live your best life possible from a financial standpoint.