When I was twelve years old my dad decided to cut a deal with me and my three brothers. He promised to pay us each $10 a month to completely give up drinking soda. The only exceptions were birthdays, holidays, or the occasional sleepover with a friend. The deal meant no more soda at restaurants, barbecues, or other places where the sugary liquid is a common beverage. As preteens, this was a very big commitment, but we were eager to have the extra $10 a month to spend on other fun items. I decided to save the majority of the money I earned from this, and soon I had a pretty decent chunk of cash for the average middle schooler. As time went on, my willpower got stronger and it became easier to give up the fizzy beverage.
Maybe soda isn’t a part of your diet. But what about other forms of sugar or processed carbohydrates? Or what if instead of cutting something out, you need to add something in, such as more leafy greens or fruits in their natural form. My dad encouraged us to give up soda by offering a type of allowance not to drink it. I encourage you to find a similar motivator. Will you save the money you would normally spend on a sugary drink or packaged snack for a future vacation? How about that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing? Whatever it is you want to give up or add in to your diet, I suggest finding a treat that will motivate you. Whether you have a family with kids you want to influence to eat better, or you have a desire to create your own healthy habit, making a deal will serve you well for the rest of your life.
I have now gone more than four years without drinking soda, even though my dad stopped paying me when I turned 18! I have no intention of breaking that record now. I recently pulled out the jar where I used to store my earnings, and I have successfully saved over $300, a big investment towards a healthier life.
-Ashley Voeller is a college student, future dietitian, dancer and blogger
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