I had another light bulb moment this weekend.

To give you all a little bit of background, on my health/diet front I’ve recently been testing out the principles that are covered in the “Beck Diet Plan”. Basically, this diet focuses on the psychology behind why most of us having trouble with our weight….eating when we’re anxious, eating when we’re not hungry, eating on a whim. It makes us recognize why we’re reaching out for food when it’s not “time to eat”, and then we learn to say NO.

When I first started reading this it all started to come into perspective…..it was all so logical, sounded so simple. Why have I been having issues my whole life?!

Well guess what, this doesn’t just apply to food. It applies to life….procrastinating, eating, thinking negatively…..and SPENDING. We all know what we need to do, but when it comes down to it we don’t. Either because we think we can’t, or because deep down inside WE DON’T WANT TO.

One of the things I’ve learned from this book is the concept of your “resistance muscle”. It’s obviously not a real muscle, but the idea is that when you allow yourself a “cheat” you are essentially “weakening” your resistance muscle. When you tell yourself “no”, and stick to it….you “strengthen” your resistance muscle.

I had my first chance to see this in action this weekend, as it applies to my finances.

As I’ve been putting in my receipts and reconciling my November and December expenses I’ve realized my spending has been out of control. I spent the last two months buying anything I felt I wanted at the moment. So, this month I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy any new clothes, purses, or shoes. After all, I DON’T NEED THEM. (I had made the same promise in December, but that obviously didn’t work out.)

Well, this weekend I went to the mall with the BF to keep him company. I was tempted. There were sales at Express, The Limited, Banana Republic, Zara. Every store was calling my name. I even made the mistake of browsing the women’s section in several stores. I first spotted an adorable leather purse at BR, on sale for $30. I was SO tempted….a quality purse, great price….heck, I even have $40 in my clothing budget for the month!! What’s stopping me?!! And then I remembered I had made a promise to myself. When I stopped by Zara, I actually found a pair of sneakers I loved. And my size!! Again, on sale for $30. But I didn’t get them for the same reason. The next day, I went to Nine West and a pair of shoes I’d been eying all season was down to $28. And yet again…I didn’t buy them.

You might be shaking your head saying “QL! You’re so dumb! You had the money in your budget….you should’ve gone for it!” (And, um….maybe you’re right? lol  ) I’m glad I didn’t though. At that point it wasn’t so much about the money as it was about following through. I’ve tried to convince myself in the past that I DON’T have a spending problem. After all, I haven’t had credit card debt a day in my life! Over time I’ve realized that I actually do. I realize that it could be worse (way worse) but the fact of the matter is that when I want something I have a hard time telling myself  “No.”

Like people who are gifted with a super fast metabolism that allows them to eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with them (or so I tell myself to make me feel better about the injustice of it, lol). While I’ve been lucky enough to go without any credit card debt, it may just be a matter of time before my bad habits catch up with me. I need to develop a healthy relationship with money, so in the meantime I have to work on my “resistance muscle” and being able to say “no.”