I don't own a scale. I've never thought it was healthy for athletes to own scales. It's too easy to obsess over an unimportant number like weight rather than an important number like your time for a 5K or the number of wins this season.
However, I'm no longer an athlete. I'm a 27 year old pregnant woman who managed to pack on 10 lbs in the last four weeks, so I'm going to buy a scale.
I'm in a different season of life, and I need a different strategy to handle it. (Lest you are worried, the strategy is to stop baking treats except on Thanksgiving, and to increase movement on non-workout days. I'll track my weight daily to be sure that I'm keeping weekly weight gain to less than 1lb).
When the fire is hot enough, anything will burn
The strategy change up for changing my health, is closely akin to a strategy change up for changing our finances in 2016.
When I was a high school and college athlete, I lived by the mantra if the fire is hot enough, anything will burn. Which is to say 3000 calorie days were nothing for me. I didn't eat too much junk food, but I ate a ton. That was fine, and good and healthy. Athletes should eat enough to fuel themselves.
These days, I'm not consuming 3000 calories (or I shouldn't be). I exercise mainly for stress relief rather than to maintain superior athletic performance. It's a different season, and I have a different strategy.
This year, as our income has reached all time highs, we've been less careful in our spending; we've definitely spent more than in 2013 or 2014 when income was tighter. Most of our money has been diverted to our home renovation, but we've seen spending creep up in other areas too. To be clear, I don't feel guilty about the amount of money we've spent recently. I'm happy that we've been spending it. Rather, I'm pointing out that our higher spending is fueled by a higher income.
As we consider entering a season where our income will take a significant hit, it's foolish for us to believe that what has been working will continue to work.
When it comes to our finances, we will be entering on a spending loss diet in an effort to see if a restricted level of spending is feasible for our next season of life.
Tracking to be sure the strategy is sticking
Now that we're embarking on a new strategy, we need to evaluate if its working. When it comes to my weight, I'm eliminating added sugars and I've increased movement on my non-workout days. If my weight gain stays out of control, I will start counting calories, because my health and the health of our baby girl is worth it. I'll be using the scale to say whether or not my strategy is working.
We've also got a new spending strategy for 2016 and beyond. Our sinking categories (Home, Insurance, Cars, Taxes) will remain untouched, but we're Challenging Everything else. And initially, the new strategy will involve more regular tracking. We may go back to the cash envelope system for a few months to help us launch into a new auto-pilot.
Jumping from one strategy to another is never easy, but if the strategy fits the goal, then its the right choice for us to make. Tracking isn't our new strategy. Tracking is what will let us know if the new strategy is working. As we get used to our lifestyle changes, tracking will become less and less important, and only our ability to stay within our income will matter.
Have you changed financial strategies? How did it work for you?
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.