The start of a new year is a chance to reset and take a good look at what’s been going right and what hasn’t. It’s an opportunity to consider what you might want to change or work toward in the coming months.
Your health and wealth are often the topics that come to mind when setting new year’s resolutions, likely because there’s always a little room for improvement in these areas of our lives. And while it may seem like they don’t have much in common, the reality is you can approach both your fitness and financial goals in much the same way.
So, if you’re hoping to improve your physical and financial health in 2022, here are a few simple tips you can use to train your way to financial fitness and get a little healthier while you’re at it.
Replace Unhealthy Habits With Fit Ones
You probably already have a few things in mind that you would like to change, i.e., curb your sugar intake or spend less on food delivery services. We're not suggesting going cold turkey because that’s not an ideal solution. Instead, start by replacing unhealthy fitness or finance habits with healthier ones. For instance, consider swapping soda with sparkling water or trading take-out for a monthly meal delivery service so you can learn how to cook at home.
When thinking about the habits you want to make or break, giving them a positive spin can also help your success rate. If you'd like to save more money, pick something exciting to save for; if you'd like to work out more, find a class or activity that sounds fun; if you'd like to eat healthier, learn how to prepare your favorite meal with low-fat or low-carb ingredients. To help evaluate and avoid bad financial habits, set a budget and track your spending just like you would track your eating habits.
You might be surprised at the correlation between health and wealth. Often, achieving fitness goals can contribute to you achieving your financial goals, and vice versa. For example, if you reduce how much you spend on non-essential items, i.e., movie rentals or restaurants, you can put that money toward a gym membership or a new pair of running shoes. Also, if you invest in your health now, it can save you money on medical expenses in the future.
When you start to see how the changes you're making are helping both your body and your bank account, it will be easier to continue making healthy choices.
Tracking your progress on any goal you set is key to success. Not only can it help motivate you to continue, but it can keep you focus on the finish line. Thankfully, with both fitness and financial goals, there are simple steps you can take to see measurable results. For instance, if you’ve decided to eat healthier, this might look like keeping a journal of how you feel each day or week after making more nutritious choices. Or, if you’ve decided to pay off debt, this might look like tracking how your outstanding balances decrease.
Instead of tracking your progress by hand, there are plenty of applications and tools that can help. For fitness goals, there are devices such as the Fitbit™ or Apple™ watches, and apps like MyFitnessPal™, Fooducate™, or Peloton™. For financial goals, the digital tools found in Teachers Online and Mobile Banking platforms are helpful for tracking expenses, debts, investments, and more.
Tracking is not only important to see how much more work you need to put in to reach your goal, but also to show you the progress you’ve made. Change isn’t easy, so pat yourself on the back (at the very least) and reward yourself when you reach milestones, such as running that first 5K or paying off a credit card in full. Perhaps treat yourself to a massage or do a fun free activity with a friend. When you see your effort pay off, even in little ways, and celebrate it, you’ll be much more likely to stay the course.
Stay on Track
When it comes to both fitness and finances, be consistent. You probably won’t notice any dramatic changes in the first few days or even the first few weeks, but if you consistently work toward your goals and track your progress, you’ll start to see results.
The changes you make for the sake of your health, both physical and financial, will pay dividends down the line, so take a long-term approach to these goals. It’s challenging to make sweeping changes at once, no matter how dedicated you are. If you fall off-track, don’t beat yourself up. It’s essential to remember that one day, one misstep, one spending splurge, or one soda won’t derail your success.
Everything in Moderation
Fitness and financial goals aren’t supposed to be excessively restricting or so tough that they aren’t realistic. Permitting yourself to still enjoy your life —by eating the foods you love and spending money on experiences that bring you joy—will only help as you try to make positive lifestyle changes. And with the money you save, your financial health will improve, giving you more opportunities to make those large purchases such as buying a home, boat, or car.
Sometimes a little help goes a long way. In the same way a trainer might give you advice on better ways to excersise in order to reach your goal, a financial expert can be just as helpful. When you have questions about available opportunities to save, how to consolidate debt, or what tools are available to simplify tracking your finances, there’s always someone at Teachers to connect with who'll provide the help you're looking for!