What Fitness Can Teach You About Finance


As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Will this new year bring you better finances and a better body? If you’re motivated and disciplined, it will. I spoke with Adam Gilbert, founder and Chief Body Tutor of MyBodyTutor. He explains the strong parallels between building a stronger net worth and a stronger body.

What’s the hardest thing about setting a fitness goal?
Adam Gilbert:
Frankly, I think setting a goal is very easy, no matter what it pertains to. It’s following through on your goal that’s very hard.

How does commitment play a role in fitness? What parallels exist for reaching a financial goal?
You’ll never follow through unless you’re 100% committed. However, to be 100% committed you need to really believe in what you’re doing! If you don’t believe being fit is worthwhile then you’ll never be fit. Similarly, if you don’t believe that saving money is worthwhile then you’ll never save money.

What are some ways people can stay motivated when working toward a fitness or financial goal?
Think about the short term benefits more so than the long term benefits. For example, at first, my clients are obsessed with the destination, i.e. weighing x pounds less. And when they don’t lose weight one week, they get really discouraged and want to quit. But road blocks are inevitable. It’s what we do when we hit them that make all of the difference.

Focusing on how awesome you feel on a daily basis when you treat your body with respect by eating right and exercising is a great idea. By the same token one should focus on small daily triumphs when it comes to changing financial behaviors. Maybe today you actually brought your lunch to work instead of eating out. In both situations small actions add up to big results.

By helping my clients focus on the short term benefits more than the long term benefits it makes it much easier to fight through the brick walls. When you enjoy the journey, you’ll reach your destination before you know it…and even if you don’t, it’s still worthwhile! (But you will if you stay consistent!)

How do you motivate yourself to get up and start again when you slide back into old habits?
First off, we all slide. It’s about making a U-Turn! It’s about getting back up and getting on the right track. It’s about making the choices that reflect the person you want to be. I want to be healthy, so, I’m going to do x today. I want to save an emergency fund so I will do x today. It’s about putting your desires into action.

My overall philosophy in life is simple: Make the best out of everything and be the best that you can be!

Failing a test never felt better than acing one. Eating crap and sitting on my couch never felt better than eating healthy and exercising. Being broke never feels better than having a cushion.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

I believe everyone acts the way the way they want to be. When I fall back into old habits I ask myself is this really how I want to be?

So, I get back on the right track and start acting how I want to be until it becomes a habit again. And ultimately, until I am…what I want to be!

What role does community play in reaching a specific goal?
Community absolutely helps! The more of a support system you have the better. But it’s very easy for the cheering section to support someone for their first few pounds of weight loss or for their first few thousand dollars of savings.

However, are they going to be there after the initial excitement? When the going gets tough? It was easy to root for Michael Jordan. Everyone loves cheering on a winner.

Unfortunately, reaching a goal is never about a hammer hitting plate glass. It’s about the accrued power of thousands of meals and hundreds of workouts. It’s about the accrued power of saving one dollar at a time, day after day.

What’s the biggest misconception about fitness or financial well-being?
That it’s not worthwhile. We live in an instant gratification society. Many people rather indulge now and suffer later.
Many people rather eat garbage now and scream and cry when it’s time to put on a bathing suit later. Many people rather buy ‘thing’ after ‘thing’ now and scream and cry when it’s time to pay for things that really matter later!

Foolishly, the first thing people cut when trying to save money is investing in themselves. My advice is simple when it comes to saving money:

  • Don’t cut spending or investing in things that increase in value. i.e., your business, your education, a house, yourself!
  • Do cut spending on things that don’t appreciate in value, i.e., clothes, cars, and ‘things’!

Thanks, Adam! Mid-January tends to be a time when many people hit their first “road block” when it comes to a fitness or financial goal. Your message about staying focused on the small successes really helps. Readers who struggle with weight or diet are encouraged to contact Adam, founder and Chief Body Tutor of MyBodyTutor.com. MyBodyTutor helps you stay consistent by providing daily and personal accountability.

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