Have you noticed how crowded your gym suddenly is at the beginning of the year? Or that all your coworkers who binged on holiday cookies at the end of December are now munching on salad?
That’s because it’s time for New Year’s resolutions and getting in shape is one of the most popular goals set every year.
But there’s another type of resolution that many of us are also likely kick-starting: getting our finances healthy with the top goals being saving more, spending less and paying down debt.
And while both types of resolutions may seem daunting at the outset, the irony is fitness goals are easier to follow through and more likely to give up on a New Year’s financial resolution.
But the truth is, boosting your fitness and boosting your finances share a lot of similarities, so if you’re ready and willing to take on one, you can take on the other. Here are three major ways getting your body and your money in shape can be the same—and strategies you can apply to both types of goals:
It’s Easier to Stay Motivated with Friends
How many times have you tried to work out on your own, only to realize that you push yourself harder in a group class—and better yet, one that your friends attend with you? Or found that’s it’s easier to eat healthy when everyone else at the table is also ordering temptation-free foods?
The same goes for your money aspirations; you are more likely to stick to a financial resolution if you talked about it with others. Having a “money buddy” the way you have a gym buddy or diet buddy can fuel your motivation and drive. So don’t be afraid to share your financial goals with people close to you and encourage them to share theirs. Then set up regular times where you can check in on each other and keep each other accountable.
Focusing on Your Progress Can Help You Stay the Course
It’s about progress, not perfection. After all, thinking solely about the ultimate number you’re trying to reach can feel too daunting; it might be why people believe that training for a marathon is easier than sticking to a financial resolution for a year.
But think about it: You wouldn’t train for a marathon by running 25kms the first time out, right? Instead, you’d start by giving yourself milestones to hit and then keep up your conditioning until your body becomes accustomed to running farther and farther.
Along those lines, giving yourself manageable benchmarks to start with can help you reach your financial goals in a less stressful way. For instance, rather than deprive yourself to reach a Rs.1,000,000 savings goal in just a few months, start by stashing away something small every month—and if that proves to be doable, consider boosting it to a larger amount periodically until you reach your goal.
Sometimes a Coach Can Help Provide That Extra Push
When those last few stubborn pounds refuse to melt off—despite your weekly workouts and calorie counting—you might turn to a personal trainer or nutritionist to take a closer look at your routine to see what else you could be doing to reach your fitness goals.
In much the same way, you may need an outsider to take a closer look at your finances in order to help coach you on what you could be doing differently to help meet goals like saving for retirement, paying down credit cards or finally being able to afford your first home.
That could mean turning to money mentors in your life (people you know who have always been good with their finances) for insight on how they handle their money life, or speaking with a financial planner who can help you come up with strategies for managing your budget, establishing better money habits and making progress toward all your future money goals.