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10 Ways Budgeting is Similar to Dieting

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January 13, 2016 · 1.3k Views

With the New Year now upon us, many people are focused on a “new year, new me” mentality. Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions each year are saving more money and losing weight.

For the best chance of achieving each of these goals, it takes a well thought out plan on what course of action you decide to take. For losing weight, it takes a healthy diet and proper exercise. On the other hand, financial success involves writing out a budget for how your money will be spent.

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At first glance these two goals seem to be completely unrelated, but after taking a closer look it becomes apparent that the steps to achieving them go hand in hand. Here are the reasons why budgeting and dieting are very similar.

 

1. Your Progress is Measurable

With both budgeting and dieting, numbers are heavily involved. You’re tracking a number in an attempt to have a positive change over time, whether that be your bank account going up or your body weight going down. It’s very clear whether or not you’re making progress towards your goal, especially if you are specific with your goal from the start.

2. Simple is Good

When it comes to losing weight and saving money, simplifying is a good thing. For fitness, it really boils down to consuming less calories, and burning more. For financial progress, you want to spend less money, and earn more. While there are an endless supply of workout plans, diet plans, and investment strategies, these simple principles help narrow your focus. At times, budgeting and dieting get a bad reputation, but they are roadmaps that help lead to a greater end result.

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3. They Involve Long Term Goals

Both of these common resolutions involve long term goals. Results from dieting and budgeting are not going to happen overnight, but don’t let that discourage you. Be realistic with your expectations, and just look to achieve gradual successes over time.

4. Small Steps Lead to Bigger Accomplishments

With these gradual successes come bigger accomplishments. If you make a well thought out plan, whether it be a diet and exercise plan or a detailed budget, that plan will help guide your progress. Over time you’ll notice your goal inching closer and closer.

5. Perfection is Unrealistic

Both diets and budgets will fail if they are too strict. If you try to go from eating whatever you want to banning all your favorite foods, it’s just a matter of time before your willpower breaks down. With spending habits, if you normally spent without knowing where your money was going, tracking every single penny will be a huge shift in mindset. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but expecting perfection is unrealistic. Instead, allow yourself some “wiggle” room. Whether that be a “cheat” meal, or a small portion of your budget designated as “fun money.” This lets yourself experience some small rewards along the way and keeps fueling your motivation to succeed.

6. One Setback Shouldn’t Stop You

As previously mentioned, both of these plans are helping you work towards long term goals. In the same way that sticking to a diet or budget for one day will yield miniscule progress, one slip up should not discourage your outlook. Start each day fresh and get back on track immediately, rather than letting that small mistake keep you down!

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7. Lifestyle Change

To achieve lasting results, budgeting and dieting need to lead to a lifestyle change. They won’t work as temporary fads, it takes long term commitment and a mindset shift. Healthy eating and spending wisely need to become your new norm.

8. Communication is Key

When undergoing this lifestyle change, communicate with others. Talk to them about your goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them. This creates accountability with the other person. It’s extremely beneficial to find people to walk with you in these new challenges and help check in with the progress you’re making. You’re more likely to keep pushing forward if you know someone is going to be asking you how your resolutions are going.

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9. Failure to Fully Commit Leads to Undesirable Results

Half of the equation can only take you so far. In most cases you can’t out earn your overspending, and you can’t out exercise your bad eating habits. You need to dive into your goals without being half-hearted. While a few mistakes won’t ruin all your progress, if you continually don’t stick to your plan, your plan will prove to be worthless.

10. It Can Become an Obsession

While it’s important to be fully committed, finding balance is the real key. When undergoing a new challenge sometimes it’s possible to swing to the other end of the spectrum and become consumed with this goal. Being too obsessed can lead to burnout and can blind you from all the beautiful parts of life. Be sure to enjoy where you’re at in the process. Contentment doesn’t have to mean complacency, but money and body weight are far from the most important aspects of your life.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, setting a New Year’s resolution such as eating healthier or spending money more wisely are both admirable goals. They take a lifestyle change, involving a long term commitment to a well thought out plan. In this way you’ll see yourself taking small steps towards your end goal. It may take awhile to finally get there, but that end result is a gratifying accomplishment and the freeing feeling of knowing you made it.

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A lifelong Bay Area native, Matt Spillar graduated in 2013 from Fresno State with a Sports Marketing degree. He strives to combine his passion for sports marketing along with his interests in finance and budgeting. In his spare time, he writes for his personal blog, spillsspot.com

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