It’s funny how many universal lessons of life there are. By this, I mean lessons we can learn that apply to many if not all parts of our lives. The great thing about this is if you learn one of these lessons anywhere you can apply them everywhere. One area that in my experience has many lessons is the area of health and fitness. This has many lessons we can adapt to other parts of life and today we are going to look at personal finance lessons we can learn from the world of health and fitness.
Build a habit
One of the most important lessons to learn in health and fitness is that what you are trying to do is to build a habit. Whether the goal is to exercise 3 times a week or to eat healthy meals more often than not, the point is to establish a habit. You won’t become fit or healthy through sporadic bursts but rather through consistent effort. You will find the same to hold with personal finance activities like tracking expenditure, saving and investing. You do much better when you aim to create a habit.
Practice every day
When it comes to the nutrition part of health and fitness one thing that you will find true is that working at it daily is the best approach. Many diets spend so much time and effort focusing on what you should not eat. Their lists are so long you wonder if you will eat anything. They ultimately fail because they make no plan for what you should eat. Real dietary success is found through daily practice of healthy and nutritious eating. Using a calorie counter to measure your food intake rather than denying yourself things you will eat sooner or later.
To keep with the theme of nutrition and diet the best diets are focused on what you should eat, how often you should eat it and how much of it you should eat. Much like when thinking of personal finances I have found that people who struggle the most are those who spend time thinking about what they will not do with their money, only to end up doing it anyway. Good financial management I about allocating the money you have in the best possible manner.
Build it before you need it
“I will start saving/investing when I have enough money”. This is like a lyric from a song that won’t stop playing. Every month someone says this to themself or someone else. Parkinson’s law tells us that there will never be enough money, as expenses rise to meet income. I’ve observed a similar phenomenon where people work out until they cannot work out anymore. What I learnt from some professional athlete friends I made in the gym is to rest before you’re tired. If you only rest when you need to rest, it’s too late. So cultivate the habit of building things before you need them.
Every element counts
A question I have seen enough of in health and fitness circles is whether diet or exercise is more important for a healthy life. The correct answer is both. With many things in life, we subscribe to false dichotomies which force us to choose between two things that should be combined such as skills versus education, book smarts vs street smarts or talent vs practice. So when I get asked what is more important between saving and investing or increasing income and controlling expenditure the correct answer is still both because it all matters.
Perfect form first
People arrive at the gym or do other exercises like running and swimming in different conditions. When it comes to exercise the most important thing is getting your form right especially when dealing with complicated weight work or intensive exercise like running. That’s why a good trainer will focus on form before intensity. When many people arrive in games like investing they will go it alone. While I always advocate for respecting your money understand that your first $500 will not make you rich but it will help you learn the ropes. Use this to understand the market and the tricks of the game.
When we combine two things I have been enthusiastic about in my life like these two I really could go on and on. Perhaps a follow-up article with more of these tips shortly. Let us know in the comments if you’re interested.