Many people recommit to goals at the start of the year. I mean, INTENSELY recommit. Mostly, for me, this is always health related – especially after looking back and seeing how much I ate the past few weeks <eye roll>. I try to be healthy in a mindful, balanced way.
For my personal finance peeps, I think there are a lot of mindset and behavioral things that translate directly over from a good health mindset. Here are seven things that I find are super helpful to being more mindful and effective about my health, which can also be applied to your money:
Clarity – I didn’t start to see real results with weight loss until I started tracking Every. Single. Thing. I ate in LoseIt. That reinforced that there are no “slush” calories…everything counts.
Likewise, the people who are most successful with their money and savings are the people who TRACK THEIR SPENDING. Surprisingly, you don’t save more money because you make more money – let me say that again: YOU DON’T SAVE MORE MONEY BECAUSE YOU MAKE MORE MONEY. It’s called Lifestyle Creep.
Similarly, just because I was burning more calories by making exercise a regular part of my week, didn’t mean I just started to lose weight. That happened when I started tracking what I ate. This means that both your eating and lifestyle start to drift up naturally if you don’t pay attention. Track it.
Make A Plan – Of course I want you to plan; hello, I am a financial planner! But I made an exercise and weight loss plan too. I had to get specific with how much I wanted to lose. With money, how do you know how much you want to save if you don’t get specific?
You’ve probably heard, just saying you want to lose weight doesn’t mean you have a goal. Likewise, saying you want to save more or pay down debt, or whatever… that’s not a goal, that’s a desire. Get specific and start to put some real numbers down!
Avoid Perfection – Yes, I like my plan, but I have been doing this long enough that I KNOW real life shows up and blows your plans away. But that doesn’t mean your plan is over; that just means you have to adapt and regroup. No, my exercise schedule and weight loss did not go perfectly as planned, but it all still happened. I just got better and better *returning* to the plan more quickly. If you’re trying to save more, then accidentally overspending or going into debt doesn’t mean you failed; it means you need to adjust and adapt to real life. Don’t just have the “perfect” plan; have the “get back on track” plan too.
Balance – Okay, I literally have a blog post about eating bacon on here, did you really think I gave that up? Healthy eating and weight loss are about trending toward healthier choices…but that doesn’t mean you have to give up all of the things. Bacon will always be a part of my life. Mac n’ Cheese. French fries… What was I talking about? Oh yeah…Interestingly, my palate has changed and I don’t crave ALL of the same things that I used to. I like eating healthy and I do that probably 90% of the time. But there is room for other stuff too.
With your money, you can’t be super strict with yourself – the people I see who cut WAY back on spending don’t get to their goals faster, they end up blowing up and going on a spending binge. I had one client who didn’t want to hire me because she said she knew what she needed to do to get out of debt – she was going to go hard for 9 months. Okay. She came back two years later exactly in the same place. I got her out of debt in 18 months, with balance.
Vigilance – Whenever I am feeling frustrated with results or off track with my weight loss or eating, “Vigilance” is my mantra. It’s my reminder that maybe I have been accidentally prioritizing something over my health. We all have jobs, family and other things that need our attention. But recognizing that Health is in my top three priorities helps me organize my time and resources to honor that.
Where does money fall in that list for you? Is money a function to help you get more work freedom or help your family? Then attention to it has to be prioritized. You need to be vigilant if you want it to serve you.
Habits – Building habits around good health make it easier and easier over time to be consistent and reach my goals. Grocery shopping weekly. Meal prep planning. A model week exercise schedule. Calendaring everything 7 days out.
What are the habits that support your money success? What helps promote consistency and improvement over time? I will tell you, the most successful financial people track their spending weekly, just saying. They automate as much as possible. They have a plan to delay gratification. What are your successful money habits?
Action Before Motivation – I follow this amazing guy on Instagram and he posted the following:
“Action is the foundation of motivation. Not the other way around. In other words, stop looking for ways to “get motivated.” And start doing wtf you need to do to achieve your goals no matter how badly you’d rather lie in bed scrolling through Instagram pretending to be productive. Because action leads to results. Results lead to motivation. Motivation leads to action. And so the cycle continues. But it all starts with action. Don’t forget that.”
I can’t improve on that. The End.