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Financial fitness is a lot like physical fitness
Everyone knows physical fitness is nothing but great for you. In fact it is nothing but good for your health, your sanity, and your overall well-being. Guess what. It’s the exact same for financial fitness. But just like starting a new workout, sometimes starting a financial fitness program is just so hard.
I thought of this yesterday as I passed over the 5 lb and 10 lb hand weights to give 15 lb reverse flys a go. I’ve only tried 10 lbs a couple of times and have failed miserably, but I told myself it was okay; that if I failed at 15 lbs at least I was doing better than when I failed at 10. And that, my friends, is what I call “progress”.
Fellow nurse, after a patient pulled out his own breathing tube: “Some people would call that ‘self-extubation’. I call it ‘progress’.”
I did 15 lbs six times, and very ugily. I’m sore today, but I know the next time I pick up 15 lbs I can do it again because I’ve done it before. When you take real actions to improve your physical or financial fitness, you’re doing better than you were before, even if you fail. Don’t forget that.
Just like getting up at 4:00am to exercise before work, or going for a run even though it’s raining, making the conscious decision to open a savings account, or spend less, or save more, or start investing takes a great deal of willpower. At least in the beginning.
You start out small- consciously setting aside just $5 a week for a couple of weeks. Hell, that’s easy. You’re not even sore. You try $10.
At $20 a week you start to feel it a bit- a tightness in your wallet. But just like when you do a few too many lunges, that tightness reminds you you’ve worked hard and you’ve gone out of your comfort zone to do something you know is good for you- something that contributes to your long game and your life plan. And that feels just great. So you keep it up until the tightness goes away and you’re ready to step it up again.
The more you save, the easiest it gets, and the more you want to save.
You don’t bench 150 or lose ten pounds the first time you work out. Saving money and building wealth shouldn’t be thought of get-rich-quick schemes either. You start small and you build muscle. You form habits and you see progress and you increase your savings as tolerated, or maintain a nice slow burn that will maintain you through the lean (or chubby) times.
Greg and I always say “The hardest part about going for a run is stepping out the front door”. That, and “The only way to get in hiking shape is just to keep on hiking”. Let those be your money mantras.
The hardest part about saving money is just putting it into savings.
The only way to get in good financial shape is just to keep on saving.
The less you run or hike or work out, the less you feel like running or hiking or working out. You lose momentum, you lose strength, you lose stamina. It’s the exact same with money. The less you have, the worse you feel, and the more you want to spend. It’s a vicious cycle.
If you’ve got a few extra debts to lose, or could use a bit more strength in your lower wallet, start pumping. Start setting aside extra cash in an envelope. Set up an automatic deposit into your savings account every payday. Increase your retirement contribution by 1%. Feel the burn.
If you need some extra motivation, find a financial workout partner and hold each other accountable, just like you would if you were training for a marathon. Set goals together and celebrate victories.
Start small. Start to build. Get stronger. Grow that money.
If you need some budgeting help, check out my services on Fiverr. For $5, I provide monthly and annual budgets and debt repayment strategies, as well as offer suggestions for improving your overall financial fitness. Tell all your friends.