I’ll tell you a little secret mind trick that I use sometimes to steer me clear of delicious, deceptive yummy sugar. As you may have picked up by now, saving money is second nature to me. Because of my conservative immigrant grooming, it took me a long time to truly accept that there were people actually, seriously who did not pay off their credit cards in full each month. It honestly BLEW my mind that people were knowingly subjecting themselves to those outrageous rates and terms regularly, for years on end…and worse yet, felt hopeless about ever doing otherwise. (BTW – some of my childhood was not lived in North America so that may explain some of the shock)
I grew up in a household where my parents were never, ever in debt. They bought even their house in cash. Great role models to be sure in terms of steering clear from debt. This kind of conservative example, made me someone who is extremely debt averse. I mean if I was ever in consumer debt, I would do EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING (moral and legal of course) until I was out…e.g. eat rice and beans, move back home with my parents, barter rent for cleaning services, get a second job….and especially any and every time any kind of outlay of cash was required, I would immediately QUESTION THE HECK out of the bad boy (really? do I NEED a cell phone? that bottle of water in this hot steaming over 100 degree weather? Etc, etc. you get the picture) UNTIL I was out and clear. It would be a state of emergency for me.
NOW, before you lose me on my high horse riding off into the sunset, I fully (and humbly) acknowledge that I had a lucky combination of genetics (money stuff just makes sense in my little brain) and environment to help me arrive at a place of minimal financial stress. As you well know from reading this blog, I have lots of other foibles and weaknesses that keep my feet planted firmly on the ground and still accessible to the common man…hehe.
What I want to talk about is how I am working on leveraging my strength to help me with my weakness (and since we all have both…maybe there is something here that you too can learn from or transfer to your situation?) And thus I get to the point of this post (brevity is NOT one of my strengths as you have probs already guessed :):
Sometimes,when I am feeling particularly sharp-minded in this weight-loss game, and I am facing off with my nemesis (Monsieur Sugar) (or even other equally devious foes like “Captain More”), I recharacterize the temptation using money/debt terms that takes the shine and sheen off that chocolate-frosted donought and exposes him for the useless calorie laden weight-loss saboteur he really is…once I visualize the temptation in such terms, the choice becomes crystal clear and I almost want to slap myself silly for even thinking about indulging in such absurd behaviour.
EXAMPLE: I’ve just polished off a delicious plate of my mom’s homemade biryani (famous Indian rice dish), should I take another plateful of food nirvana and let the good times roooolllll (Captain More rearing his ugly head)? Secret mind trick mode: I pretend that I am 1000$ in debt and my friends are inviting me to the movies…ARE YOU KIDDING? I am in debt…I’ll have you guys over for a free movie borrowed from the friendly local library but I am NOT in a position to spend money right now. I’M IN DEBT and until I’m in the black the luxuries are CUT. It is black and white, crystal clear…and simple. I may even charge some of you guys for my time and space while watching the movie….(haha…just kidding you!) ..wants are non-negotiablely turned off till the debt is paid OFF. So I take the CLARITY and INDIGNATION and FLABBERGASTED spirit which my imaginary debt example developed within me into my battle with Captain More…”An extra plate of biryani? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? …my tummy is full and I am overweight, so I cannot afford anymore calories until that deficit is ‘paid off’! Back off Cap’n!”
This kind of thinking helps me first of all to view the extra weight as more of an emergency of health…’as opposed to it being something that has always been there and always will be… This shruggy attitude does not lead to much change (surprise!). Instead, I am working to change the attitude to be more urgent and entirely doable (within my control) by constantly drawing parallels to an area which I do feel the urgency and sense of control (money/debt).
On the flips side, it also helps me be humble and have compassion on those who struggle with debt/money as I see the similarity in the self-control and discipline needed to eradicate either. If it is so hard for me to lose weight, it gives me insight into why some people find it hard to lose the debt.
I’m pretty sure we are all in ninja’s in some area of life…so why not leverage them to assist you where you are challenged?