Dan and I are currently changing our life a couple of ways. The first is how we handle our money, and the second is how we take care of our bodies.
Finances. We just completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, a nine-week course on personal finance that completely blew our minds and got us speaking the same language about spending, budgeting, investment goals, etc. It has been revolutionary for our marriage. Through the class we not only learned Dave's great 6-step process for paying off all your debt then investing wisely for life... but we also learned a lot about ourselves and our natural tendencies, as well as roles in our marriage as they pertain to money. Now that the class is over, we face the reality that we need to put it all into practice for the long term. To say that we each have strengths and weaknesses in this area would be an understatement. It's hard to change things up when you've been doing something one way all your life.
Personal Health. In case you didn't hear, I had an C-Section last summer. For those of you who have never recovered from a C-Section... you don't really feel like yourself in your body for about the first six months after birth, at least this has been my experience. It was just very recently that I felt like my torso could handle all the twisting and stretching and bending that it could do before I was pregnant. Needless to say, I haven't exercised much. Other little-known-fact about me: I love dessert. Well, pretty much all high-calorie foods, but especially dessert. Mmmmmm ice cream.... Put those two things together and you get a mother of an eight-month-old who still doesn't fit into 95% of her pre-pregnancy wardrobe. And don't even say the word swimsuit. Guhhh I shutter. Dan isn't struggling with this in the same way that I am, but he certainly wants us to be a healthy couple and for me to feel good about myself.
Both of us -- me being a firstborn and Daniel working in Sales -- thrive under pressure and with stated incentives. So... as of this weekend, we have two friendly challenges going on in our household.
Challenge 1: Fight the Urge Contest
Who can go longer? Me not eating dessert, or Dan not buying things that are not covered in our monthly family cash flow plan.
- I don't eat "dessert", as defined by 'anything that could be classified as dessert.'
- Dan doesn't talk about, research, shop for or purchase any items that are not specifically covered in our monthly budget.
- Whoever cracks first loses. We have not yet defined what the winner gets -- suggestions are welcome. Dan thinks if I eat a dessert he gets a new mountain bike. But let the record show that I did not agree to this.
- I can eat a dessert if and only if Daniel gives it to me on his own volition.
- Dan can talk about something he/we want to buy that's not in this month's budget if and only if I bring it up.
It's difficult for both of us, but I can see already that this is igniting positive change in our attitudes and our lifestyle. This challenge directly addresses two of our biggest weaknesses, and in the end, everybody wins more and more the longer we go. It is a test of will power, a test of honesty, and an opportunity to tangibly honor the other person by loving them through their weaknesses.
Challenge 2: Quid Pro Quo
I break a sweat, Dan puts down the games.
- For every day that I work in half an hour of purposeful physical activity, I earn one day of Dan not playing any games on his phone.
- Preferably fifteen minutes in the morning and at night, my physical activity must be sweat-producing and in promotion of good health. Added bonus if it's something we do as a family, like a walk, bike ride or hike.
- Volleyball practice counts only if I work up a sweat for fifteen minutes or more.
- On days I do this, Daniel disables all the games on his phone from midnight to midnight the next day.
Our time is ever-precious these days with both of us working outside the home, me in the midst of volleyball season, and having all kinds of weekend trips and activities planned. We both spend (read: waste) time in various ways... I like to catch up on tv shows when Dan's not around and I spend way too many minutes scrolling my Instagram feed. Dan likes to play all kinds of games on his iPhone and view all kinds of useless articles and videos on the internet when he's by himself. I'm sure many of you can relate -- it's very easy to let electronic devices nibble away our days, and this cuts into valuable time doing other more important things... like exercise... and laundry... and stuff. This challenge helps both of us to channel our time in healthier ways.
If you glance in our windows in the near future, you just might see me doing ridiculous virtual reality stunts in front of the tv... don't worry, I'm just utilizing my new favorite exercise mechanism via the Xbox. Who's playing video games now??