Choices

There’s an interesting interview with money guru Suzie Orman on the Weight Watchers website (of all places) about the connection between poor money choices and poor food choices.

From the article:

But you’ve got to decide: Are you going to have potato chips or the orange, apple or carrot? Are you going to put the money in the savings account or are you going to spend it? They’re identical. So when you don’t have money in your life, you’re the reason why. When you have weight on your body—in most cases, not always if there’s medical reasons—you are not a victim of circumstances, you have chosen to do that to yourself. They are absolutely identical in nature. Identical.

It took me a long time to figure that out, and a lot of days, I’m still figuring it out. I never consciously realized that I was blaming my weight –– or anything else –– on anyone but me, but I was. I used to think up all the reasons I was fat, and a lot had to do with the way my family ate when I was a kid. But that was still my choice. I could have chosen to eat differently, even as a kid. It wasn’t that we didn’t have healthy options at my house, or that my parents wouldn’t have bought me just about anything I asked for; it was that I liked eating the high-fat, high-calorie foods and I chose to eat them.

I really think the parallels between being in debt and being overweight –– two major problems in American society –– are fascinating and teribly apt. We live in a society where taking responsibility (not blame) for our own actions is frequently the last thing on someone’s mind, and if we want to change the size of our waist lines and our wallets (hopefully in opposite directions), we have to learn to take personal responsibility for the problems we have created.

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Sharpen the Saw

According to Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a person is like a saw:

A worn-down saw can’t do its job well––or sometimes at all––but a sharp saw can quickly and efficiently make a cut. People are the same. If we take the time to renew ourselves, we will return to our activities and responsibilities refreshed and ready to do our best.

I think it is an important part of my journey to sit down and take stock of my progress once in a while, to ask myself, am I living my best life? What can I do right now to improve, to reach my goals?

Covey defines four areas of life that need to be in balance in order to be most effective: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Physical

  • I’m improving my health by making better food choices, including organic and non-processed foods.
  • I can improve by adding some consistent physical activity––like yoga––to my daily and weekly routines.

Social/Emotional

  • I’m getting a lot more social interaction at my new job, meeting new people, etc.
  • I can improve by making more of an effort to be friendly and engage these new people (something that’s difficult for me!).

Mental

  • I’m learning so much from reading The Omnivore’s Dillemma!
  • I can improve by using more of the time I spend watching TV for reading interesting books like this one.

Spiritual

  • I’m spending at least 15 minutes every morning writing in a journal and time blogging.
  • I can improve by trying meditation when I add yoga to my daily practice.

I truly believe that this kind of self-inventory is key to making any kind of lasting changes.  Ask yourself today, “Am I living my best life?  What can I do today to sharpen the saw?”