Becoming Self Made is Better Than a Diet

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of putting your diet off until Monday…until the holidays are over, until after your vacation, until you stop breastfeeding, until after your birthday party, until that pint of artisanal cookie dough ice cream is long gone from your fridge, and on and on the list can go. The problem with this paradigm, as we all very well know, is that there will always be some special event, excuse or justification to delay our well-intentioned plans, and then before we know it, it’s the middle of June, and we’re still trying to stuff our love handle into our jeans.

What We Really Mean

The lesson of this article actually has nothing to do with diets or love handles. The point we’re trying to illustrate is metaphorical: that the road to becoming self-made invokes a lot of the same principles and “muscles” that one must call on when they do happen to be on a diet. Things like determination, discipline, willpower, self-awareness, self-love, sacrifice—these are all key forces that have to be summoned when we’re trying to accomplish anything really; but a diet is a great example, because much like math or your bank account, one’s scale doesn’t lie. If you keep to the plan, you start to lose weight. If you cheat, you stay stuck. No mystery there, right?

A Diet of Doing

The thing about becoming self-made, self-reliant, and rich in every way is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Much like a diet, it takes persistence and consistency. You have to think of it as a long distance marathon, as opposed to a sprint. The other important thing to realize is that it starts on the inside. Which means that before you even begin hashing out all the tactics and logistical steps on the journey, you really have to start working on what’s inside of YOU. This means that becoming self-made begins by choosing yourself. Just like no one can diet on your behalf, no one can do the internal work of becoming self-made for you. It’s yours and yours alone to tackle.

With that in mind, here are some of the ways that becoming self-made is exactly like a diet:

You Have to Exercise Consciousness

Just like you wouldn’t sit in front of the TV and mindlessly chow down on a bag of kettle chips if you’re on a diet, you can’t whip out your credit card number and expiration date every time you come across something that you fall in love with online—even if it’s on sale. That’s like saying you’ll only eat five squares of chocolate instead of fifteen. If you were really serious about losing weight, you wouldn’t even eat one, right? As you become self-made, you have to start tapping into that same deep sense of awareness before every single monetary transaction, knowing that the less you spend, the more you save; and the more you save, the more you have to work with when something of substance—like for example, a new business—comes up in your life.

You Have to Flex Your Entrepreneurial Muscles

Just like you’d hit the gym for a thorough workout a few times per week on a strict weight-loss regimen, to become self-made you have to tone your entrepreneurial muscles. This doesn’t mean you have to become the next Spanx lady from one day to the next. You can start small, for example, by committing to put aside one hour per week to sell some of your old handbags on eBay; or your kids’ outgrown clothes; or your services as a graphic designer. Identify something that you can give some time to—like when you isolate a muscle group with your trainer—and by any means necessary ensure that you give that endeavor some time each week.

You Have to be Willing to Sacrifice

No pain, no gain; no guts, no glory. No sacrifice, no self-reliance. It might annoy the heck out of some you, but there’s no getting around it. As you get on the path to become self-made, just like when you’re on a diet, you have to pass up a whole lot of the good stuff. Even if you’re at the fanciest pizza parlor in creation, if you’re serious about wanting to drop ten pounds, you’ll avoid that slice and ideally opt for the arugula salad. A painful choice? Very. But worthwhile? Hell yes.

You Have to Keep Your Eye on the Prize

When you want to lose weight, you have to have vision. You have to have a sense of what your goals are, what you want to look like, how you want to feel. Then you have to work your butt off to achieve the results you so desire. Becoming self-made is no different. As you chisel out your vision of what kind of self-made woman you aspire to be, you start to visualize your future, which makes the road-map to it a heck of a lot easier to lay out.

You Have to be Okay with Setbacks

The pursuit of almost any goal is laden with obstacles. But if we stopped chasing our dreams each time we hit a wall, we’d likely never accomplish anything. Say you have a goal to lose twenty pounds and you manage to knock off five; then you find yourself on a weekend cruise with your best friends and slip up a bit, so you gain back two or three. It happens! And it’s not the end of the world. The key is to take in the lesson (“cheating has consequences”), get back on the horse, and plow forward until you reach your goal. You have to be willing to accept your mistake, and more importantly, to learn from it.