Recently, I have been noticing an interesting relationship between what is necessary for physical fitness and for financial fitness. This is not to say that everyone who is physically fit is also financially fit, but those who have overcome weight struggles have the proven skills necessary to manage their finances. Also, those who manage their finances well have the qualities necessary for physical fitness. Do you struggle with both fitness and finances? Here is the good news – you only need to learn one set of skills that will apply to both disciplines.
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Here are the qualities necessary for both physical fitness and financial fitness
I have a friend who will be on an upcoming season of The Biggest Loser. He wrote on his Facebook wall,“the mental part of this is the hardest and your words are helping so much.”
The mental part? I thought weight loss was about diet and exercise. But, there is a mental battle necessary to motivate yourself into action. Most people who are overweight know they should lose weight. Most people in financial debt know they should get out of debt. The problem often is the motivation is missing. Something will eventually spark that passion. The motivation might come in response to some external factor like a warning message from a doctor or a letter from a debt collector. The motivation might also come from an internal factor where you finally get sick and tired of wishing and you are finally ready to act.
If you want to get out of debt or to improve your financial situation, you will need motivation. If you want to lose weight or to get in better physical shape, you will need motivation.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. (Proverbs 6:5 NIV)
Self discipline is the ability to do what you know is right.
A person who is financially fit will avoid expenditures that will damage their overall financial situation. They have an overall sense of their financial direction and they stop spending in areas they know are a burden on their budget. They forgo wasteful activities and purchases by avoiding them completely or by finding frugal alternatives that fit within their income.
A person who is physically fit will avoid foods that damage their fitness plan. They have a sense of what eating habits are destructive to their fitness plan. This might be the time during a day when you eat more than you should, or it might be the type of food that contains little nutritious value. Those who are self-disciplined have identified those problem areas and avoid them completely or establish a plan for consuming appropriate proportions.
If you want to get out of debt or to improve your financial situation you will need self-discipline. If you want to lose weight or to get in better physical shape you will need self-discipline.
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 NIV)
3. The Ability to Say ‘No'
We are full of cravings. Those cravings could be for physical “stuff”. Those cravings could be for food. A person who is fit in both senses has to learn how to say ‘no’ to those cravings. One who lacks the ability to say ‘no’ purchases whatever they want – regardless of the financial cost. One who lacks the ability say ‘no’ eats whatever they want – regardless of the nutritional value.
For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16 NIV)
4. The Ability to Prioritize
Related to the ability to say ‘no’ is the ability to say ‘yes’. This is commonly called prioritizing. People who experience financial peace have determined what spending takes priority. This way they do not spend money they do not have. Their lives are not just about sacrifice, but they are defined by the ability to yes to the right spending choices (typically as determined by a budget or spending plan).
People who are physically fit also have the ability to say ‘yes’ to the right activities. They prioritize in both their eating and exercising. This priority may be seen in passing over a certain food in order to eat something else at a later point. Rather than sleeping in, they place a priority on exercise.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
5. Allocate Time and Energy
People often get into trouble when they start believing a problem can be solved without any effort or sacrifice. Those looking to get rich quick often find themselves defrauded. Those wanting to lose weight without diet or exercise find that they have spent a lot of money on different programs that simply do not work.
The truth is that both financial and physical fitness require time and energy. Financially, you will need to spend time budgeting, reading, calling, and filling out paper work. Physically, you will need to spend time exercising and learning about fitness.
If you are not willing to dedicate any time or energy to physical fitness, your plan will fail. If you are not willing to dedicate any time or energy to financial fitness, your plan will fail.
If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks. (Ecclesiastes 10:18 NIV)
Why not apply these principles to help improve your physical fitness, financial fitness, or both?
In what other ways are physical fitness and financial fitness similar? How do you motivate yourself?