Of course, the enticing slices of chocolate cake had to be placed close to the entrance where I wouldn’t miss them.
I began what has now become the usual conversation with myself, “Tope, today is Saturday. It’s the day you can eat anything you want.”
I needed a reality check. I took a quick inventory of all the treats I’d already consumed: two pieces of meat pie, several slices of suya (spicy barbecued meat) and two delicious pieces of cookies.
“OK, Tope. That’s enough for one evening, unless you want to gain back the 50 pounds you lost last year.” That internal monologue nipped the food cravings!
Whether it is physical, financial or spiritual fitness, we often struggle.
These three areas have very common themes
They require lots of sacrifices, conscious decision-making, careful planning and self control in order to climb to higher levels.
Take personal finance, for instance. One of the reasons a reasonable person avoids a buying spree is the fear of being broke and burdened by debt
Just as I controlled my chocolate cake craving by taking stock of how many calories I already consumed even on my “day off,” we must always be careful not to succumb to our wants and desires.
We have to control our cravings to buy on impulse and/or buy items we cannot afford if we want to maintain pressure-free lifestyles.
Another common thread
Faith, finance and fitness hardly stay stable or constant, and the fluctuations can be quite unsettling.
One moment you are rejoicing that you have reached your desired weight, and then the next day you step on the scale and you ask, “Where did the additional three pounds come from?”
The solution goes back to conscious decision making, careful planning and self control.
But let’s be honest, these can make you feel choked. You can begin to feel as if you aren’t living.
“Successfully navigating faith, fitness
and finance boils down to choices.”
So what can you do to make it fun to be financially, spiritually and physically fit? Here are some tips that work for me:
1. Be selfish about it
Design what works for you and not everyone else. The optimal level of financial security, faithfulness and fitness are subjective and personal. Find what works for you and not what the Joneses are screaming about.
You don’t have to buy your first house or make your first million at 25. Who says your American dream has to be designed by other people? Remember, it’s OK to put yourself first sometimes!
2. Take a break and recharge
I am not saying abandon your beliefs or go on a spending spree, but like I do on Saturdays, you can find a day to relax a little. It makes the days you sacrifice more bearable.
On the financial side, I budget my income and expenses but leave a little room for treats, wants and emergencies so I don’t have to whip out the credit card when I feel the need for a little retail therapy or if something unexpected comes up.
On the faith side, you can skip the prayer vigils for a couple of nights so you can arrive back on the prayer rug with renewed faith instead of crashing and burning due to lack of sleep.
Time apart from your spouse to bond with friends and family can help you become more faithful and committed, as long as you set boundaries and realize everything has limits, even your breaks!
3. Start saving small amounts
Yes, building a good and healthy savings culture is one of the best techniques to live prudently without being choked.
I try to put a little something aside from every paycheck to help me afford my annual vacation debt free. When I shut down the thought of buying a new pair of shoes or a new piece of clothing, I just smile because I know I will get my high when I make it to the beach.
The bottom line to successfully navigate faith, fitness and finance boils down to choices. You can choose to submit to your cravings today, but then you must accept the consequences.
Just as the best strategy to avoid a sinful life is to avoid bad deeds or to stay fit by avoiding junk food, the best strategy to avoid debt is to stay away from spending what you don’t earn. I wish you the best of luck!
Photo sources: codemagazine.com, images2.static-bluray.com, funnyasduck.net