I have noticed that the process I used to get a healthy money mindset is the exact same process that I need to use to get a healthy body image mindset, relationship mindset, emotional health mindset, spiritual health mindset -- well, you get the idea.
So, as you know a few years ago I decided to become financially literate and to improve my relationship with money.
First, I decluttered everything I had in the money category from my wallet, to my bills and subscriptions, my income -- I tidied up to make Marie Kondo proud. I decluttered emotions around money -- feelings of unworthiness or feeling somehow virtuous for calling money unimportant. Money is useful and important -- there is no virtue in denying something that is simply a fact.
I faced the numbers -- the shameful ones (how much do I waste on crap I don't use?!?!) and the good ones (that debt allergy has served me well.) I read Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman, I learned to invest from Phil Town (life changing, btw -- look into it.) I continue to learn about it. I learned that money is not inherently good or evil. It is just a really useful tool that -- like energy -- gets things moving.
Then I became grateful for every penny I had, every penny I earned and every penny I spent. Every time it flows in or out the energy keeps moving. If I invest wisely it flows toward me and I can give to a charity or buy a new pair of shoes. If I spend, then it flows away from me and it puts food on someone else's table. The more it flows in all directions the better off we all are. **Read Happy Money by Ken Honda for more about that.**
So my money relationship was being cultivated pretty well, but I still have a few body image issues to deal with. I thought, "What did I do to improve my relationship with money? I'll try that here." (Spoiler alert, it is working!)
The first three steps to take:
2) Face the facts -- even if you don't like them (btw, you don't have to share these facts with anyone. You just need to know them and be honest with yourself about it.)
3) Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.
Step One, Declutter. How do you declutter body image or health issues?
In my case, I had to be clear on what I wanted to happen. I wanted to lose and maintain a good, healthy weight. I wanted to be less prone to joint injuries. I wanted to have lots of energy. I had to lose my know-it-all, "that won't work for me" attitude and seek out the facts. That ego of mine was the worst clutter there was. It kept me from recognizing that I was clinging to my "slow metabolism" my "genetically weak joints" my "tired in the afternoons." I didn't realize that I had made these excuses and criticisms part of my identity. After a lot of digging around I realized that it was easier to blame my body for failures and unachieved goals. It was easier to blame my body for making my dance career fizzle before it got started (we're talking twenty years ago. That is how long I have had this clutter.) My poor body did nothing to deserve that blame.
Step Two: "Face the facts -- even if you don't like them." Fact one, I was acting like a know-it-all who could've stabilized my joints ages ago had I just LISTENED to an exercise pro. (This info is not hard to find.)
Fact two -- I weighed and measured Nunya-biz pounds and Nunya-biz inches (remember you don't have to share. You just need to know for yourself.) I faced the fact that I needed to go through a program of exercise designed by experts -- I could stream those online and watch my waist shrink and feel my joint pain and instability go away over the weeks of the program. I started tracking my food portions and categories.
Fact three -- my diet was not as perfect as I thought. I faced the fact that I was eating too few veggies (which really surprised me) and too many sugars (which didn't surprise me because -- wine.)
I had to have faith that I would benefit from the expert teaching the program (even if she was never on Broadway or a prima ballerina with ABT-- which, as it turns out, those are different areas of expertise *fact faced*)
**The exercise programs are the BeachBody workouts and nutrition plans. I started streaming them when COVID canceled all of my live exercise classes. Lockdown was a surprising wrapping for this gift/life lesson.**
Step Three: Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude. Say a little thank you prayer for all of it, even if it is something that you don't think you like. Sore muscles? Thank you for becoming stronger. Workout isn't your favorite? Thank you for doing it anyway? Still not at your goal weight? Thank you for being the size you are now. Feel good? Clear skin? Sleep well? Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Also, NO COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR BODY. Do not call yourself fat. Do not call yourself weak. Do not say anything abut your body that you wouldn't say to your sweet grandma or baby cousin. Just don't do it. Be nice to your body and don't say bad things about it. It has served you your whole life and taken some abuse (Remember the epic tequila hangover from Freshman year? I had one that lasted two days.) Patience and kindness start with yourself.
Results so far: I've lost several inches in several places. I've lost nine pounds and I have gotten much stronger. My immune system feels bulletproof (don't worry I won't test it). My unstable joints feel strong, stable, and not at all like I could easily roll an ankle or tweak a shoulder. I sleep like a champ. I feel as good as I did in my twenties without all of the drama and bad decisions. I'm not so hung up on body image which is ironic, because this is making a difference in how I look. I feel good -- extra good.
Like with money, it is a practice that you must maintain. You must remember to show gratitude and face facts. Also, decluttering will have to happen frequently -- just like the clutter on the counter and in the junk drawer. When you feel some frustration rising back up, declutter again.
*Daniella Bozzone is a mindset and habit writer, a children's book author and illustrator and the designer and sole proprietor of DesigningDandelion.
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