When you think of a budget, your first thought is probably in regards to your checking account. But did you know that there are other currencies you can use to spend, save, splurge, and budget?
The currencies of life are anything that is used as a medium of exchange. You give one thing, you get another. Currencies of your life include not just money, but also time, food, and love. There are ways to spend (or misspend), save, extend, splurge, and value each one of them. Take stock of those currencies as they flow through your everyday actions. Are you the master of them all? Here’s how to tell. Did you know that your mastery of these currencies depends entirely on how you think and feel, how resolved you are about past incidents, and how you perceive these currencies within the context of your life?
I say we all start making resolutions early this holiday season to consciously start managing our money, time, food, and love. Use the analogy of being on a budget for other areas of life! It’s actually empowering to live on a budget, not stifling. Try it! When you are responsible for your various currencies (money, calories, time) in this way, guilt and head noise disappear. And that feels better than any retail or food-binge therapy!
Consider my suggestions on each area below. The holidays will provide excellent tests and opportunities to grow.
Instead of being disheartened by a lack of money this holiday season, give thanks and take stock of what you have. Everyone has to deal with money and most do not consider it to be a privilege … but it is! The money you earn is yours to manage wisely and proudly. So for the last weeks of the year, in the midst of holiday specials and frenzied gift-buying, it’s especially important to take on this literal currency with eyes wide open.
Examine your beliefs and theories about money and search out any limiting ones, like prejudices you may have against “the wealthy” that may keep you from actually wanting wealth! You will find plenty if you look hard enough. You might want to pretend you don’t know what’s happening in your bank accounts, but instead, time to take a look. Do a little digging and evaluate how you currently spend. Because ignoring the facts of your money is a huge pitfall; your money likes your attention! When you take the reins, clean out the garbage thoughts, write out your dream, and dare to say your magic numbers out loud, your mind will start to work in a new way and positive results will follow.
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All of us are guilty of lamenting how little time there is to do the things we want to do. Instead of resenting the perceived limitations of time, be grateful that there are 24 hours each day. Think about it … that’s a lot! You have plenty of time to do what’s really important to you.
So, the first step is to figure out how long the tasks in your life take. How much time do you need? And if you’re really honest, you’ll see all the ways you are wasting your minutes, which become hours, which add up to days! If you admit that you’re a little bratty about how you use time and you agree to spend it responsibly and maturely, then you can really invent and play. Time is a gift!
Isn’t it true that if we ate everything we felt like eating, whenever we wanted, we would feel sick and look unhealthy? Instead of being upset, or resentful, about the foods you avoid eating in order to feel good, give thanks for the joy food can bring when you truly taste and savor it! When you are living true to your ideals, there is a certain number (and kind) of calories you should have in your day in order to stay healthy and energized. YOU get to decide how to spend them! How will you spend your food currency this holiday season? I recommend making every calorie count by eating lots of delicious, nutrient dense foods.
Think of it this way: giving lots of junky gifts doesn’t feel as good as one simple, well thought-out gift delivered with love and intention. In the same way, eating lots of junky food won’t feel as good as really planning and putting your heart into your food choices. I am a fan of planning out my treats around holidays — like Thanksgiving: one serving of mashed potatoes or stuffing and maybe one small dessert. Imagine eating on purpose, even planning out the unhealthy things, so that if you’re not totally happy with your body, you can at least be happy with your sense of control and power over your hand!
Get off your restricted love diet! Unlike time and money, which are truly limited resources, love is unlimited. You always have more to give (and get!) than you think. You guessed it, I am going to recommend “spending” more of this currency this holiday season.
Make a list (and check it twice) of all the people you want to feel your love this season and start knocking off names everyday. For fun, make your expression go far beyond a gift or a card (or forgetting). Do something you’ve never done before: Skype them, record and send them a song or a dance, write them a haiku, or paint them a picture. Or, just express love verbally or physically in a way you never have before. This is the best way to give thanks for the love that surrounds you already. Give your love away freely! Love is one currency where you get more in return when you give it away.
The holidays offer a golden opportunity for us all to slow down, savor time with family, take a break, and feel gratitude for the currencies of our lives. It’s a great irony that we turn this into the most hectic time of year! It’s all too easy to throw the rules out the window and overspend money, waste time, and drop the ball on your health and diet promises. But consciously budgeting your currencies and designing a holiday plan (and following through on it!) will guarantee you a happy, wholesome holiday you’ll remember with a smile. Give yourself the gift of personal evolution! You’ll be so grateful you did.
P.S. As you settle in with your Thanksgiving leftover sandwich this Friday, don’t forget to tune into Facebook Live with Amy Butler and our own “rainmaker” of a Senior Coach, Hildie Dunn, at 4PM. Allow this live coaching session to start your season off right — think about how to use your energy, time, and love to its fullest potential.