Consider Outside Influences on Health and Wealth

Stikz Movie
by: nporterco

Do you ever think about how influences in your childhood affect your life today? For example, what was your first memory of food?

I remember my mother making the best fudge for the holidays, but she would only allow me to eat one small piece each day. What was the very first thing you remember about food?

I remember always being hungry because I had seven brothers. There never seemed to be enough for everyone. My first memory about money is the same. There was never enough to go around.

How did those memories make you feel?

I decided when I was very young to always have enough food and to make enough money to make me feel secure. I think that may be why I am always struggling with my weight and working a lot of overtime. How about you?

I think my mother was trying to guide me early in life on how to enjoy food, but in moderation. Our childhood experiences can influence our health and personal financial behaviors all through our lives. We develop beliefs about health, eating, physical activity, and handling money from our family and surrounding culture.

But we don't always do everything the same way our family did. I don't smoke even though everyone else in my family does.

We may do things like our parents did, or we may decide to do the exact opposite! Early influences have staying power. We tend to repeat them without thinking them through. Unfortunately if the messages were negative, they can hinder us from improving our health and the way we manage money. Remembering positive messages can motivate us to continue what we are doing or to make even more changes.

So now that I understand my early fear about not having enough food, I can make changes to eat less and make more healthy choices. I can try to feel more secure with the amount of money I have and work less, maybe even use that time for more physical activity.

You can change how you think and what you do when you realize there is a better way to live your life. Try to change negative messages into more positive health and financial beliefs.

Okay. I will say to myself, "I can eat food in moderation because I always have enough. I do not have to go hungry again." In church I always heard money is the root of all evil, but I really don't believe that. Did you have early money messages from your childhood?

My mother wasn't good about controlling her spending, even though she was good at controlling how much fudge I ate! She always carried very large credit card balances and she worried about money all of the time. Even as a young child, I vowed to never let my spending control my life. I really make an effort to enjoy the amount of money that I have and use it for things that make me happy.

Thank you. I never realized how those early influences affected my health and my wealth. I will try to re-frame other negative beliefs that I still hold today from my childhood.

That's really great! Taking small steps like that can help you achieve your bigger health and wealth goals.

For more information see: www.ext.colostate.edu/smallsteps

Updated Tuesday, August 05, 2014

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