Watch how you deal with food and money – you’ll learn a lot.
I got very clear on this idea when I woke up on Sunday morning – the day after July 4th. I had a food hangover. I do have disability insurance for self-employed people, but I’m pretty sure the overeating malady isn’t covered.
You may have felt the same thing on Sunday, and if so, let’s see if we can work together to help each other do better and leverage the lessons:
Even though I had great intentions of behaving myself, once I got to the pre-fireworks food extravaganza, my brain and common sense took the day off and my eyes and stomach took over. Doh! I knew that the afternoon would present its own “Hamburger Hill” challenge. But rather than storm it, I ate it…all of it. Double doh!
What went wrong?
I didn’t go prepared for battle. When it comes to chocolate soufflé versus me…I haven’t got a chance. Might as well send flowers to my family. Good thing I have plenty of term life insurance.
Why did my plan fail?
I had a food plan laid out very precisely…in my head. My plan failed because:
a. I didn’t write it down.
b. I didn’t share it with anyone.
c. I didn’t have the right provisions.
d. I didn’t retreat from the battlefield (dessert table) when I knew I didn’t stand a chance.
e. I didn’t have an accountability partner.
What could I have done differently?
That of course is very easy to answer. I can do all the things I failed to do.
a. Have a daily written food plan.
b. Share the plan with my wife.
c. Make sure that I have healthy food choices available (gotta eat, you know).
d. Not put myself in dangerous food situations.
e. Be accountable to my wife about my food every day.
What will I do to turn this around?
Before I ate or drank anything on Sunday, I wrote down my plan for the day and kept it with me all day long.
What is my long-term plan to solve this problem?
This is tough. The only idea that comes to mind is to continue doing the steps I outlined in “What I can do differently” on a daily basis. I need to focus on taking the correct daily action – one day at a time. If I focus on how I messed up, I’ll probably drown my sorrows in a Twinkie. Instead, I can focus on doing the right thing…right now.
How does a food problem relate to money?
Think about the last money meltdown you encountered.
What went wrong?
Did you overspend? Did you muck up your credit score? Make a really dumb investment? Loan money to someone you knew would never pay you back?
If you’re like me, this isn’t your first slip. When I had my last food slip, I promised to have a written food plan every day. But I stopped doing that because I was lazy, and as a result, I slipped. The slip happened when I stopped writing down my plan…not when I actually overdid it on Saturday.
What was your money plan? Did you stick to it, or did you fail to work your financial plan? My guess is, if you had a money slip, you stopped implementing your plan days or weeks before the actual overspending incident occurred.
Write down exactly what happened. What were the circumstances? If the issue is overspending, what happened right before you had a spending slip? Were you angry at somebody? Did your spouse or boss say something unkind? Did you need to soothe yourself by overspending?
Why did your plan fail?
I could be wrong of course, but I think this is pretty easy to answer if you are honest with yourself. If you have a plan and it continues to fail, it’s either because the plan is flawed or (more likely) because you failed to implement your plan. What better describes your situation? Are you tracking your spending with a program like You Need A Budget?
What could you have done differently?
If you’ve been completely honest about the preceding questions, this should be pretty easy to answer too.
You’ll easily see what needs to change. My usual mistakes are that I fail to write down my plan and I fail to be accountable to someone else.
What will you do differently today?
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to be working off those same 10 pounds 10 years from now. If I don’t take action today, I can’t expect to make progress. What do you need to do differently today so you’ll have a better result next time? What’s stopping you from taking that action?
What is your long-term plan to resolve this issue?
I honestly believe that if I work on my overeating one day at a time, I can resolve the problem. I think this “one-day-at-a-time” approach is absolutely the best way to approach financial challenges as well.
Have you noticed how much food and money have in common? Do either of these issues plague you? What has been your best approach to resolve these issues?