This is a guest post from Kevin at No Debt Plan where he writes about helping you get and stay out of debt before building wealth. If you’re too busy to visit his site, why not subscribe to his blog and catch up later?
There are some amazing similarities between exercise, dietary habits, and personal finance. I’m sure that’s why Lazy Man started this second blog. These things go together extremely well. I thought I would share a few similarities with this health conscious crowd.
Inertia is Everywhere
I hate getting up early in the morning. I love to sleep in, but the dog needs walking. I have to overcome inertia every morning to not ignore my alarm clock — to get out of bed, go for a walk, and get some exercise. Once I make that first step of simply getting out of bed, I’m awake and ready to go. But that first step is the hardest.
There is a certain amount of inertia that must be overcome to make any positive change in your life. You know you should exercise more. You know you should eat healthier. You know you need to save more and spend less. You know these things. Yet convincing yourself to actually start doing them can be incredibly difficult. It’s all in your head. A good kick in the rear by a friend, blogger, or inspiring author can get you started. All it takes is one step — get out of bed, walk outside, don’t buy the snack cakes, up your 401k percentage — to get started.
You Must Walk Before You Can Run
These small steps soon lead to big successes. There’s the story of the 400 pound man that walked half of his weight off. I’ve read other stories on CNN of people in the 400 to 500 pound range that lost a significant amount of weight simply by walking. First to the mailbox and becoming winded before making it back to the house. Then to the stop sign. The next thing you know they are doing laps around the neighborhood and the pounds are flying off. One foot in front of the other. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao-tzu) is absolutely true. (Granted these folks also changed their diets as well.) They didn’t have to run a marathon or bench press 300 pounds. Simple walking helped them achieve their goal.
This principle holds true for your eating and money habits as well. You don’t have to switch to a 100% organic, vegan diet overnight. That’s rash, expensive, and you likely won’t stick with it. How about removing soda from your grocery list this week? It’s a small change, but simply removing soda from your diet and drinking water (tap please) is a big step in the right direction. You can’t save one million dollars overnight. Consistent payments into an IRA, over time, can grow to that amount. Small steps. One foot in front of the other.
Multiple Paths, One Goal
Another interesting coincidence between these three topics: there are multiple paths to the same goal. For exercise you may hate running and decide to hit the gym more often to get your blood pumping. For diet changes there are several popular dieting programs for you to choose from — or you can not choose one at all. Saving more money can be done by budgeting, paying yourself first, or automatic increases in your 401k contributions. All of these things reach the same goal, but on different paths. One person may climb the mountain, the other may ride a mountain bike. They reach the summit regardless of the mode of transportation.
The neat thing about exercise, diet choices, and personal finance is they inter-connect. Imagine you start exercising regularly and become healthier because of it. Your blood pressure and cholesterol get back to healthy levels — to the point where you can drop both prescriptions. Not only are you more healthy, you’ve saved money. Your future healthcare costs could be dramatically lower by removing yourself from a health danger zone (risk of heart attack, diabetes, etc.). As you adjust your budget and pay off debt, you might have more money to dedicate to that vegan lifestyle… which in turn makes you healthier. A positive cycle ensues.
So go ahead, make a change in your life. Stick with a good habit for thirty days. Force yourself to get up early to go for a walk, cook a healthy breakfast, or balance your budget. One foot in front of the other on your journey to success. You’ll have to excuse me — time to walk the dog.