Lacey is now a 10-week-old Goldendoodle. She is very intelligent and has the sweetest temperament, but like all puppies, she is a lot of work. She wants nothing more than to be by her owners. She will curl up in a little ball and make sure she is pressed up against your leg, but after a short while she must abandon that security for the much cooler kitchen tile. She has done pretty well with going “potty” outside. Except for a few accidents, she has managed to relieve herself in the appropriate “designated area”. Lacey will go to bed around 10:00 pm, wake up around 2:00 or 3:00 am for a quick pitstop in the pitch-black yard, and then she is back down until around 5:00 am. She sleeps most of the day as well, but once the temperature begins to cool down, she gets a burst of energy and channels her inner puppy. In other words, she has the attention span of, well…. a puppy. Overall, I have very few complaints. She is a good dog and learning quickly, but she needs organized structure to best succeed.

As we train Lacey it got me to thinking how similar people can sometimes be to puppies – in that we need organized structure to give ourselves the best chance to succeed. If we go to bed at 9:00 pm one night, 3:00 am the next night, and then midnight the next, our body will become confused and we will eventually become exhausted and disoriented. We need a somewhat consistent schedule that will allow our body to rest and repair appropriately.

If we eat unhealthy take-out food every meal and don’t exercise, our body will begin to revolt. We must have our daily fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly in order to stay healthy and live longer.

The same goes for our finances. If we spend more than we make, don’t give, and don’t save, then we are in for a financial disaster. We need to live a financially healthy life. A budget is merely a tool we can use to determine where our money will be going, rather than wondering where it has been. It allows us to create good habits.

And just like Lacey, we sometimes need a treat to keep us motivated. There is nothing wrong with treating ourselves to a good burger, some ice cream, a movie night, or whatever else motivates us, but—like for Lacey—it must be in moderation. If I give Lacey a full-size burger patty as a treat, she will either overeat or not eat the food that provides her the necessary nutrition.

Living a healthy lifestyle is not an easy task. Everywhere we turn there are distractions pulling us away from what we know is best for our health. I love brownies or a thick piece of lasagna. I love new gadgets. I love hanging out with friends until the wee hours. I love spoiling my wife and kids. But I also realize that those things are best when done in moderation. Plus, I have found that I appreciate them much more.

Now, do I have this thing down? Nope. I still feel like a puppy sometimes. I am easily distra….Squirrel! Wait, what were we talking about?