When you think of a budget, your first thought is probably about your wallet. But did you know that there are other currencies you can 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 misspend, save, extend, splurge and value each one of them. Take stock of those currencies as they flow through you every day. Did you know you are the master of them all? Did you know that your mastery of these currencies depends entirely on how you think and feel, how resolved you are about past incidents, how you perceive them within the context of your life?
I say we all start making resolutions early this holiday season, to consciously start designing our money, time, food and love. Use the analogy of being on a budget! It's actually empowering to live on a budget, not stifling; try it! Because when you are responsible in this way, about calories (or money or time), 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 your lack of money, 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... I think 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 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.
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 relate to 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 that really tasting and savoring food can bring! When you are living true to your ideals, there are a certain number (and kind) of calories you should have in your day to stay healthy and energized and 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 food.
Think of it this way: Giving lots of junky gifts doesn't feel as good as simple, well thought-out gifts 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 some 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 right now (instead of a holiday card list perhaps?) of all the people you want to have feel your love this season and start checking it twice and knocking off names every day. 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. If you need guidance in how to do this, tune in to our next free live tele-talk, Design Your Life: Holiday Edition and learn how to craft a plan that keeps you grounded in gratitude.
And of course, you can create this type of harmony in your life all the time -- through the holidays and beyond, into a 2016 that turns out to be your best year yet. Sign up this December for Handel Group's flagship course, Design Your Life Weekend, and learn a simple method that has helped thousands of people manage their minds, follow through on their promises, achieve their goals and design lives they love. Give yourself the gift of personal evolution! You'll be so grateful you did.