I know this is a hard question, but what do you want to do with your life?
I’m not talking about your career, per se. I’m talking about… in life. What do you want to do most?
Do you want to run marathons? Build a family with your SO? Own a vacation home in Bali? Be Instagram famous?
I don’t judge.
I’m going to tell you how your biggest aspirations in life can drive your healthy lifestyle habits in a major way.
My biggest aspiration is to snowboard all over the world. Places like Chile, Japan, Canada, France… the list goes on and on. I want to accomplish this before I get too old to strap in.
But it took me a couple years to figure out how cooking and developing a healthy lifestyle directly supports this goal.
I want to help you do the same.
Here’s how I got there.
When I graduated college, I had a full-time job and my parents were still helping me financially a little bit. But like any recent college grad, I dove headfirst into adulthood completely unprepared.
Starting your life after college is like jumping into a pristine looking pool with clear water, only to realize that the water is actually gross and you’re swimming without floaties for the first time. A lot of flailing is involved.
Anyway, my parents basically cut me off after a year — and boy did my spending habits catch up with me.
Those were the days when I was buying lunch at work every day. And if I wasn’t eating dinner at a restaurant, I would whip up some peanut butter on wasa crackers at home.
Very simple and very delicious: baked sweet potato, sautéed asparagus and an egg topped with a little bit of grated cheese. 🍳 #putaneggonit I was feeling sick today and had to go home early from work, but of course I got out of bed to whip this up in just 15 minutes. 🔥 I'm 99.9% positive I got sick from something I bought at a restaurant yesterday. I've NEVER gotten sick from my own cooking. 🤔
When I started my second job, I was making a little more money. Naturally, I started spending more. You know. Because I (thought I) could.
Why not drop $150 on drinks at a bar for my friend’s birthday? Why not spend $125 a month on Classpass?
I’ll tell you why not. Because I was rapidly losing the money I had saved from when my parents were helping me.
After taking a good hard look at my bank statements and reading a basic personal finance book, I realized I needed to cut three areas of spending to keep afloat.
- One was cabs. I was spending $2,000 a year on cabs. Tardiness (and laziness) is expensive.
- Another was fitness. I was paying for TWO gym memberships because one was closer to my apartment and the other was closer to my office. Yeah. Bad. The total for that was $80 a month. No, thank you!
- The last was food. Spending $600-$700 a month on food was a little much. Remember, I’m only feeding myself.
Yes, I live in New York City. It’s one of the most expensive cities to live in. But I knew I could live without luxuries like cabs, two gyms and overpriced vegan food from Blossom Du Jour.
I wasn’t even vegan.
Taking less taxi rides and quitting the expensive gym was easy.
Here are five big reasons why eating habits are SO HARD to change.
- Food preferences form at a young age and habits are determined by how you were brought up eating.
- But we still expect changing food habits to be as easy as switching to a new brand of toothpaste.
- You may have dietary restrictions and allergies that make it hard to change your eating habits.
- It’s common to feel pressured to eat a certain way based on your friends who you follow on social media.
- …And change is simply difficult for us lazy procrastinators who are accustomed to instant gratification!
These are all issues I dealt with personally.
Growing up, my parents kept our kitchen stocked with healthy food, but when I started calling the shots in my own kitchen, I felt lost.
My healthy lifestyle clicked when I figured out WHY I needed to change it for good.
It was for the money. Because I knew the money was better spent elsewhere: on what I love to do.
Enter: meal prep.
After some trial and error, and a few cooking disasters, I learned that cooking batch meals is way cheaper than buying food at Dig Inn every day.
Here’s the thing about Dig Inn. I would buy salmon, sweet potatoes and kale almost every day for a cool $12.
But I can make three of the same exact meals for the same price. Plus it’s healthier.
Meal prep made the most sense because it directly supported my goal of freeing up cash for more important things.
Here are my top three goals that motivate me to meal prep every week:
- Travel. The experience of traveling is worth way more than the convenience of takeout.
- Snowboarding. It’s an expensive hobby! Cabs have NOTHING on perfect powder days.
- Saving and investing. I realized how important it is to start investing sooner than later. I also had to rebuild my emergency fund after two months of unemployment last year. Slow and steady!
If I didn’t connect meal prep to these big-picture goals, I probably would have meal prepped for a week or two before reverting back to my wasa cracker and peanut butter dinner habit.
I’m so passionate about cooking (other than the fact that I genuinely enjoy it) because it literally fuels what gives me life.
If I was still going to restaurants every day, I wouldn’t be able to save. I wouldn’t be able to go to Colorado for a weekend to snowboard. I wouldn’t be able to take trips with my boyfriend.
Losing weight and feeling healthier were just the cherry on top.
I can’t stress enough the importance of considering big-picture goals when it comes to your healthy lifestyle.
What are you really doing it for? And how important is it to you?
If you eat at restaurants and feel healthy, why change?
If you enjoy buying lunch and your bank account can handle it, why do something different?
Wanting to make a change for a specific reason and just thinking you SHOULD because you read somewhere it’s “healthier” or “cheaper” are two very different things.
Tell me in the comments below: Why do you want to improve your lifestyle? What are your life aspirations that cooking or eating healthier can help you with? The more specific the better.