Lifestyle changes? 5 steps to help you get started!

Retired & Widowed

Judy is retired and recently widowed. She talks about living on a fixed retirement income as a widow

Lifestyle changes? 5 steps to help you get started!

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Since my husband passed, I have been working to improve my overall health and well-being.

I had been telling myself for years that I was going to lose weight, but it never happened-- just talking about it wasn't enough. I finally decided it was now or never and more importantly, I wanted to "live" my life and live for as long as I could. I lost 38 lbs in 18 months. But I did it the right way, and I'm still working at dropping another ten and then maintaining my weight. 

I knew that dieting was not the answer; people go off of diets. I also understood that I would need to combine exercise with healthy eating habits for long-term health and success. Finally, I knew it would not happen overnight, and I wanted it to be permanent. The biggest hurdle for me was acknowledging that this was something I "had" to do. I just cannot succeed until I get myself in the right place mentally. Wanting to and needing to are not the same as "having" to which leaves you with no other choice. I have found this is the best approach for my personality. 

So, after experiencing success with my health goals, I am finally in a position to tackle my financial goals. Easier said than done, right? I didn't really know how to to work toward that goal, having never really thought much about it before. Certain spending habits were ingrained and I realized that, just like my health goals, achieving financial success was going to require some pretty big changes in my other habits. One of the best things that happened was a new friendship. I became friends with someone who has always been frugal and knew their way around a deal. Spending time with my friend allowed me to observe how many of my everyday behaviors needed to change; I have since made some pretty significant changes, but I am still learning.   

Lifestyle changes are never easy, they require willpower and perseverance.  To help you get there I have listed five steps I used to make a change in my physical health. I am applying these same steps in my goal to become more financially frugal. Perhaps these may work for something you are working toward: 

1. Acknowledge Your Goal- Say it out loud, put it on your fridge, tell your friends; just make sure you formally acknowledge your goal.  

2. Don't let a fear of failure prevent you from reaching your goal - Fear offailure is a stumbling block for many of us. It is paralyzing. But you cannot move forward unless you are willing to take a risk and change your life. Believe that you are worth it. 

3. Visualize living this new lifestyle - See yourself organizing your bills and reviewing your credit card statements. Visualize how you will feel and what you will do when you have paid off your debt.  

4. Enlist help; you don't have to do it alone - Contact debt management specialists, "life" coaches, friends and family or even start your own support group. 

5. Recognize and accept that it won't happen overnight - Prepare yourself for the long term and understand that these changes are not temporary; you are choosing to replace old habits with new smarter habits. This is a long-term commitment.  

Interestingly, I find that my desire to become frugal is blending well with my healthier lifestyle change.  I spend less money at the supermarket, as I make healthier choices by shopping the perimeter for fresh foods. 

Regardless of what your goals are, remember, your past and current actions are what got you to where you are now. It's time to change those patterns and become an active participant in your life. Build your life to be what you want it to be. If you don't, your circumstances will not change. We all have hopes and dreams; act now and make yours a reality. You are worth it!  A great tool to use while trying to pay down debt and make better decisions financially is a free website called "" They employ a killer budget tool! Check it out-- it is awesome. 

I'd love to know if any of you have identified a goal and challenged yourself to attain it. How did you do it? 

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Judy Kline

Judy is retired and recently widowed. She is a contributing author for the Retired & Widowed blog where she shares what she has learned about living on a fixed retirement income as a widow. Judy is an amateur photographer and has nine grandchildren. Compensated CareOne Blogger

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  • For the average individual, there's always room for improvements to your current diet, and you'll feel a lot better if you move forward with these changes. I personally try to keep a balanced diet and can relate to the difficulties in successfully doing

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