I’m not a very new-agey person, but I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that I find a certain harmony and wholeness in focusing on going to the gym, eating healthy, and managing my money wisely–all at the same time. I’ve always read that you should never try to break or start more than one habit at a time if you want to succeed, but I’ve noticed that the opposite is true for me. Each good habit fuels the others in a circular way. Lack of time and money (created by going to the gym and simultaneously cutting back on expenses) foster good habits and keep me away from bad habits.
Here are a few further thoughts on why this works for me:
- When I go the gym I feel so good that afterward I want to eat healthy, light foods that will refuel my body. I also drink a lot more water during the day because when I don’t I can feel that my body doesn’t perform as well when I work out. So while it’s hard to get home late from the gym and then have to cook dinner, I don’t actually have the desire to just grab something quick and unhealthy on the way home.
- Since I’m also trying to watch our finances more closely, we plan our meals a week at a time and have all needed groceries on hand. When I do get home late from the gym late and need to cook, I know what we’re cooking that night and know that everything we need is thawed out and ready to go. I have also been trying to plan easier meals on nights I’ll get home late, and even cook larger amounts on other nights and have leftovers.
- Since we tightened our budget, I have less available funds to spend on going out to eat, going to movies or other entertainment, so I actually have more time to go to the gym even though it’s time consuming. I’ve been going Tuesdays and Thursdays when I get off of work, and don’t get home until close to 8pm.
- When I eat better, I feel better and have more energy, so it’s easier to generate the energy and motivation to go to the gym–which makes me feel even better. When I eat poorly, I feel sluggish and even sort of sickly so I certainly won’t go to the gym even if it would make me feel better–instead I’ll get home, crash, snack, and sit around on the couch all night.
- This new routine also affects how much alcohol I buy and drink. I really don’t drink very often, but when I do drink, it’s usually social and it’s not just usually one drink. But wine and beer is expensive, and full of calories, so by not wanting to spend an extra $10-$15 on a bottle of wine at the grocery store, and not wanting to consume an extra 500 calories or so when I’m trying to eat better, I don’t really buy or drink much alcohol.
It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve started this new routine of being all around healthy and awesome, so I can easily back slide (to use the lingo of my southern religious roots), but I keep reminding myself how good I feel when I go to the gym, how much better I will feel about myself if I get in better shape and lose weight, and now nice it will be to increase our savings and have more money for the future.
I’ll close with a somewhat embarrassing and self-effacing story from last Friday. I had my gym back packed and in the car but felt tired and cranky and worn out after work–I even ended up staying almost an hour late to finish up some things. When I left I really didn’t want to go to the gym. I called PL and said, “I either need you to talk me into going to the gym or tell me it’s ok to come home. I want to go home and drink and eat pizza and sit on the couch.” She knew I was in a classic foul mood, and would be even worse all evening. While I was whining about going to the gym I still drove that way instead of towards home, I turned onto the road and even pulled into the parking deck while still on the phone with her being in a bad mood. I was so grouchy I even pulled back out of the parking lot and decided to head home instead–I didn’t want her to be right that I’d be in a better mood if I went to the gym, so I’ll go home and be a pill all evening–that will show her! But I didn’t want to be in a bad mood, and I didn’t want to be cranky with her all evening when she did nothing wrong. I also had just told a co-worker that I was going to the gym after work, so I exited the parking deck, drove back around the block, pulled back into the parking deck and walked to the gym. I didn’t have a great workout, I hadn’t had enough water that day so I felt sluggish, but I went and then felt a 100% better and less grumpy and managed to have a good Friday night instead of starting a fight.