We all know of the similarities between losing weight and paying off debt. Well, since I’m in the process of doing both, and in the process of recovering from screwing up on both, I thought I’d be the perfect person to write an article on what to do about it. :-) Read on for valuable tips for getting back on track when you’ve blown your budget or your diet.
Assess the Severity of the Blown Budget or Blown Diet
This first step is crucial. Your budget/diet crisis could be much better – or much worse – than you originally thought it was. Therefore, it’s important to make sure to quickly and properly assess the damage you’ve done by falling off the wagon. Did you blow your healthy eating plan by 200 calories or 2000 calories? Did you blow your budget by 5% or by 50%? Depending on how severe the damage is, your course of action will be different, as will your mindset in how you handle it.
Determine Why it Happened
What caused you to fall off of the budgeting or healthy eating wagon? Was it an emotional response to a stressful situation, or an unavoidable expense such as a medical emergency? Determining why your blown budget or blown diet happened is crucial to making sure it doesn’t happen in the future, or, if it does happen again, for having a plan already in place for dealing with it.
Make a Short-Term/Immediate Plan of Action
Did you eat way too much food at that BBQ last night? Put a plan of action in place that you can do for the next 7 days that will help you to make up for the error of your ways. Add an extra hour a day to your workouts, or make a plan to organize the house; figure out one or two or seven ways within the next week that can burn some serious extra calories, and commit to eating well.
In my case, I’ve been working on losing weight for several months, and thought I was doing well, however, a step on the scale at my brother’s house (we don’t own a scale) showed differently – instead of losing, I had gained 5 pounds! Although this was upsetting, I knew that throwing a pity party wasn’t going to help, so I made an immediate plan of action to totally cut out flour, sugar and processed foods. This had worked well for me in the past, so I knew it would work again.
Did you blow a grand you shouldn’t have on a new flat screen TV or super trendy outfit? Figure out what you can do this week to recover: can you take the purchase(s) back? Can you make up the money with spur of the moment side hustles? Can you sell other things to make up for what you’ve spent? Can you be extra strict with your budget this month to recover the cash?
Make a Long-Term Plan of Action
Once you’ve assessed the damage, determined why it happened, and made a short-term plan of action, you’ll need a long-term plan of action, either to make sure this type of crisis doesn’t happen again, or to fix mistakes that might take longer than a week to recover from. In the case of eating healthier, what can you do to make sure you don’t have a huge binge session again? Do you need to ban sweets from the house for a while? Or make sure you go to parties with a full stomach? In the case of a blown budget, maybe it’s time to cut the credit cards up and start using a cash only system, or finding a trustworthy friend or relative to whom you can be accountable to for your spending.
In our case, Polar Vortex winter heating bills put a huge crater of a hole in our budget. We are using short-term plan of action tips like those mentioned above, but we’re also using long-term plan of action tips, such as installing a wood burning stove this summer and putting aside extra money during these cheap energy months to pay our expensive winter energy bills. This will help ensure that we don’t have another budget-crushing winter should it be extra cold again.
Whenever a person is working toward a goal, mistakes and setbacks will happen. They’re just a part of life. It’s how we handle those mistakes and setbacks that makes the difference between failure and success, so if you’ve blown your budget or your diet this month, take the steps to recovery listed above, congratulate yourself for overcoming the obstacle, and move on forward toward your goal.
Image via tec_estromberg