Have you ever heard of P90x? It’s an extreme workout that, over the course of 90 days, promises to get you into the best shape of your life. As of today, my nephew and I have endured 47 days of grueling workouts and healthy eating. I am definitely seeing results, both on the scale and in my appearance, but it is still difficult to stick with the program, especially since it burns up at least 90 minutes of my day.
Now that we’re a little over half way through the program, I am seeing a quite a few similarities between keeping your body healthy and being smart with your finances. In order to be successful in your exercise program and in personal finance, you’re going to have to understand these 4 truths.
1) The First Few Days Are Unbelievably Tough
When my nephew and I inserted that first disc for P90x, I think I was underestimating the difficulty of the workout to come (even though I have done a few of these workouts in the past). After about 40 minutes, I was keeled over with my head inbetween my knees, almost certain that I was going to blow chunks (sorry if you just got a visual of that). Somehow I was able to keep my cookies down that night, but there was no doubt about it, that first day was tough.
Handling your finances is similar to starting a serious workout program, and that first day can be really tough. Let’s say your typical day involves grabbing a coffee on the way to work, eating lunch with your co-workers at the local sub shop, and then browsing through the mall on your way home to see if there are any new items that you might want to walk out with. When you crack down on your finances and are committed to spending less, you have to make that coffee at home, pack a lunch for the afternoon, and completely avoid the mall on the way home. It’s a complete lifestyle change, and those first days are probably going to suck.
2) You Need to Stay Disciplined
While both of these programs can be new and exciting for a while, there’s no doubt that the good feelings you get when you do that workout or when you pay another bill will soon get old and unfulfilling. It happened to me with P90x around day 35, and the last couple weeks have been a huge struggle, but I’m staying disciplined so that I can reap the results at day 90 (and beyond). The same is true with your financials. In the beginning, you’ll be paying down your debts and putting money toward savings. It feels good, but boy do you miss going out to lunch every day, and that mall has really been calling your name lately. Stay disciplined though, and you won’t be dissapointed with the final results.
3) You Need to Have a Goal
In order to stay disciplined, you’re going to need to have a goal. With P90x, I wanted to lose my love handles and build some muscle again. I’m getting there and I’m excited to reach my goal at day 90. With your finances, perhaps you want to get out of debt, or save a 6 month emergency fund, or maybe you’d like to retire! Whatever the case, don’t forget what your goals are. Keep them in your mind at all times, especially when things get tough.
4) Don’t Forget to Reward Yourself
For my 90 workout regamend, there is a pretty strict eating plan. While I haven’t followed it perfectly, I have done a pretty well. At day 90, I my reward will hopefully be a rockin body, but I think I might sneak a donut on that day too. Of course I’ll continue to eat healthy, but an unhealthy snack once in a while isn’t going to kill me.
The same is true for your personal finances. If all you do is pay off your debts and save your money without having any fun, you’re not going to make it very long. Create a schedule of rewards. If you pay off one of your credit cards, Head on out to lunch with your coworkers, or buy that hat from the mall. Then move onto the next goal and fight for that next reward.
How are you doing with your personal finances? Are you succeeding with paying down your debts and saving for that future emergency?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.