Financially Fit Workout Strategies
published on 11/30/2012
Before we jump into our financial fitness program, let’s look at six workout strategies that you can apply to any savings training.
- Start with small steps/Cardio. Most training plans fail because of unrealistic expectations or goals. Take it slow. If you haven’t worked out – or saved - in a while – don’t rush in with high hopes. Set small, achievable goals – like skipping eating out once a week. You’re more likely to continue if you reach goals - and reward yourself - along the way.
- Stretch. Always stretch before starting any training program, physical, mental or financial. Before jumping head first into your savings training, take some time to prep your mind and body for the workout ahead. Set goals (see #1), plan your strategy of success and prepare yourself mentally for the efforts ahead. Stretching also allows you to become more flexible and less prone to injury when you start saving.
- Strength Train. Strength training (of your brain) is an investment in your overall financial health with numerous benefits, including increased investment knowledge and improved savings savvy-ness. Strength training twice a week, focusing on minimizing debt, is optimal for success.
- Take breaks. If you find yourself out of breath, exhausted and stressed, stop. Rest and relax. No marathon was won without months of training and preparation. No savings strategy will be an instant success without practice. If you find yourself falling short of your goals, stop and re-examine your training. Are the goals you set too lofty? Did you have an unexpected expense come up? Maybe you sprinted too fast too early. It’s okay. Catch your breath, stand back up and start at it again. Pace yourself.
- Change It Up. Making your financial fitness plan enjoyable and choosing one that fits your lifestyle will keep you inclined to sticking with your exercise program. Mix up your routine to keep it fresh and new. Give up one extra spending habit each week for a month and then switch to putting all your extra change in a jar the next month. Keep track of your savings and see how a little bit here and there can save you big.
- Drink plenty of water. The human brain is composed of 85% water. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, a main component in developing headaches, migraines, fatigue, drowsiness, depression and poor financial decision-making. Ever heard of retail therapy? According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers linked compulsive shopping to depression, anxiety, stress, materialism and reduced self-esteem. This is not good for savings, so drink up and keep your mind strong and healthy so you can make good financial decisions.