When you think of finance, some of the first things that probably come to mind are numbers, budgets, and bank statements.
But while it may seem like finance is only made up of numbers and figures, its reach goes far beyond what shows up on a spreadsheet. Your financial circumstances impact many other parts of your life, and conversely, other parts of your life react and interact regularly with your finances. Even things you thought had little or nothing to do with money can actually have an impact on your finances.
Understanding this connectedness of personal finance can be a powerful tool when you’re looking to make positive change in your financial life. When you aim to improve one area of your life, the positive repercussions can have a huge impact on different parts of your life.
Here are a few areas to focus on:
Though the two may seem unrelated at the get-go, finance and fitness actually have a lot in common. When you set a physical fitness goal – running 5K, for instance – you train yourself to endure the challenges and to continue working towards your goals. It’s about building up endurance, creating good habits and taking care of yourself. All valuable qualities in a financial plan as well.
The people who surround you have a big impact on your life. When you’re a part of a community or volunteer group you’re automatically in touch with a very valuable tool – perspective.
A community can give you the support you need when you’re feeling low, they can inspire you when you’re feeling unmotivated, and they can help you find the resources you need to accomplish your goals – financial or otherwise.
Your money habits were probably formed at a very young age in large part due to your parent’s teachings. Though they gave you a foundation, you likely formed some your own money values. The thing that you’ll always have in common? Shared experience. Your family history can give you tons of personal insight and varying views on things. By appreciating the differences you each have, you can use it to help broaden your outlook and potentially give you help deciding your own route.
As with fitness, food is an aspect of your life you don’t regularly associate with finances beyond the grocery budget. But with your food habits you can set positive patterns that can benefit your financial goals. For instance, being in touch with how certain foods make you feel illustrates the immediate impact of choices on your wellbeing. So with finance you can begin to look for the habits that make you feel more secure as opposed to less and understand that you have the power to choose. That positive inspiration could mean something as small as canceling a subscription instead of letting it loom over you, or as big as re-hauling your financial “work-out” plan for a successful financial future.
Some of the main biggest budget busters come about in a social setting. If you’re able to maintain honest relationships with your friends, you’re likely to be more honest about your finances as well. Instead of dreading the pricey night out, surrounding yourself with people who you feel comfortable telling about your tight budget will help you to stay on top of your finances.
Your workspace can have a big impact on your mood and consequently on your focus towards your personal challenges – including your finances. If you’re working in a chaotic workspace you might find yourself less likely to seek balance in your bank account. When you feel organized in your workspace you might find that you’re more motivated to organize other parts of your life.
Not everyone works best in a Spartan workstation but understanding and organizing your documents and putting in the effort to organize your workspace will help you to remain focused on your (financial) goals rather than the mess.
While some hobbies do cost more than others (hiking in jeans and tennis shoes is less costly than maintaining and sailing your own boat), that doesn’t necessarily dictate if the hobby is draining your bank account. Because you have a goal that gives back (in interest and fulfillment), hobbies can have some of the most inspiring consequences for your finances. If you’re dedicated you may find yourself planning and prioritizing how to spend your money so that you can maintain your hobby. This organized approach can help you to create a more secure financial foundation.
Any steps taken towards a positive change have a big impact on your overall wellbeing! If you can begin to draw the lines between various parts of your life and follow the impact of even one small change, you can make the most of your forward motion. That’s one reason we helped create a Food, Fitness, and Finance Challenge for the New Year. We know how motivating it can be to tackle goals together. If you want more detailed information, don’t forget to check out our resource centers as well. Be it fitness, finance, or food, you can make lots of progress in 2014. Just remember – one good thing leads to another.