Two Similarities Between Financial and Physical Health

by Kevin on December 8, 2012

As you begin to wrap up your year and look toward next year, one of the most common tasks people take on is setting New Years Resolutions. While I personally think just having a resolution is mostly a waste of time (a strong goal with a plan behind it is much better), it is still an exercise to take on. Plus, you can start with a resolution idea and develop it into a goal as you go.

During the building of your next set of goals you might a few common threads that go through both your financial based resolutions for 2013 and your health resolutions. Here’s what I’ve found is similar.

2 Common Threads Between Financial and Physical Goals

Here are two things that go hand in hand with financial and physical health.

Your “I’ve Had Enough!” Moment

You’ve tried dieting. You’ve tried cutting out carbs, then fruit, then meat, then carbs again. Then you slipped back into old habits; the new ones too fresh to continue on without dedicated effort.

You’ve tried not spending another penny. Then you tried couponing, using an envelope system, online budgeting tools, tracking spending in Excel, and back to pen and paper. Before you know it you’re back to putting things you can’t afford on a credit card.

At some point in either journey you have your “I’ve had enough of this crap!” moment. Where you get tired of eating pizza and cheese puffs every night. When you go on an emotional rampage through your refrigerator and pantry, tossing out every last piece of junk food. You grab your running shoes and who cares that it is 40 degrees outside, you go running.

The same can happen on the financial side. You spend, and spend, and spend… and one day it just hits you. This is dumb and it has to stop. So you put your credit cards in a block of ice in the freezer. Or you cut them up immediately and call your cable company to cut it off to save money.

We all are capable of having this moment. It can be a bit erratic — I’m canceling every bill, ever! — but it truly can be healthy. It’s a shotgun start to a long race, but you roll with the momentum to make some immediate changes in your life.

Discipline is a Requirement

You cannot run a marathon, cut fat, and build muscle without discipline. You cannot build your net worth, pay off debt, and save up an emergency fund without discipline.

These items don’t just “happen” one day. It isn’t magical. It’s hard work. It’s painful. But it is infinitely better than the alternative.

Discipline is one of the most difficult things for me to personally have. That might sound weird coming from a guy who writes about money all the time, but I feel like I have solid discipline on the money side of things. But it is almost like I use up all of my available discipline abilities on just our finances. Maintaining focus on eating healthy and working out is a lot more difficult for me. (Thankfully I had a “I’ve had enough!” moment earlier this week and I’m rolling with that momentum for now.)

It is so easy to get frustrated when we don’t see immediate results in either area. We want to drop 25 pounds immediately. We want to pay off all of our debt yesterday. It takes a lot of focus and energy to keep going even when it doesn’t seem like we’re being very successful. That drive through the tough times is discipline.

Developing discipline is another article for another day, but what other common threads do you see between fiscal and physical health?

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