Just Do It ~ Nike: Step 1
The secret to financial well being and health is: be in consistent action. Or as Nike so powerfully declares: Just Do It!
That’s the key that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in improving financial health. Those that spend consistent time every month working on their finances build their financial muscle and create a financially healthier life. Those that consistently put a little bit of money away every month, even just a few dollars, create a financially healthier life. Those that learn a little something new, consistently, create a financially healthier life. There is no better, faster, more effective approach to financial health than simply being in action.
One frequent mistake I see, and I’ve made it myself, is that we only take action when money is tight, when something’s wrong. It’s kind of like only going to the gym when you’re overweight and out of shape. You’re spending time just trying to get back to some baseline of health. You never get the opportunity to fine tune your health and strength.
Taking financial action when things aren’t so bad, when things are actually good, is transformational. If every time you sit down to look at your money you’re trying to figure out just how to make it through the month, you won’t get anywhere. You’ll suffer a lifetime of treading water and it will always feel like drudgery.
But if you draw a line in the sand today and declare that you’re going to shift your paradigm, you’re going to do it differently, and consistently, your financial health will fundamentally improve. Your confidence will grow along with your sense of security. And your financial muscle will get stronger and stronger.
What does consistent action look like? This blog is the first of a series that will share a plan that I’ve seen succeed time and again. Here’s the first step. Jump in.
Step 1: Create a goal-oriented Fully Fit Plan that is your three to five year realistic goal.
A Fully Fit Plan is similar to a spending plan, but it focuses you on what you want, not what you have. Not in the consumerism “I want more” kind of way, but in the “what are my true intentions and integrity around money” kind of way. You’re Fully Fit Plan should answer the question “If my finances were healthy and strong, where would they be?”
When I did my first Fully Fit Plan it felt like the first time I did yoga. I was moving my body in ways it hadn’t moved it before. I felt stupid. I didn’t know what I was doing. Intellectually I knew yoga would improve my health, but it didn’t feel that way. It just felt awkward. But I did it, and it got easier, and I started to feel lighter, more connected and more in tune.
Using a Fully Fit Plan does the same thing. It feels awkward at first, but then it gets easier, we feel lighter, more connected and more in tune. Epiphanies don’t often come from simply making the Plan; that would be too easy. My epiphanies, and this is true for most of my clients, came from consistently comparing my monthly spending to my Fully Fit Plan. It takes time to sink in, but here’s what I learned:
- I wasn’t living in integrity around my money,
- I wasn’t prioritizing what was important to my family, myself and my future,
- I wasn’t earning enough, and
- I wasn’t dreaming enough.
To create your Fully Fit Plan, get a pencil, eraser and lots of paper. It’s a creative project…have fun with it. Go somewhere where you can let your mind be expansive. Don’t sit at your bill-paying desk. Ask yourself the question: If my finances were healthy and strong, where would they be? Dream a little, aspire, and believe. But don’t go hog wild. You want a plan that you can gradually attain. Drill down into areas that are important to you:
- How many concerts would you like to attend each year? What do you do for fun?
- Is a new car important to you, or would you rather prioritize some other financial goal?
- What do you aspire to give to others? Are your contributions or tithing in line with your integrity?
You can use any basic spending plan format, and keep it simple. Too many categories are overwhelming. There’s a free tool you can use at TheFinanceGym.com. As this series progresses, I’ll be posting next steps, sharing stories and answering questions.
Come back, consistently, and create a healthier, stronger financial life.
Stacey Powell builds financial muscles at TheFinanceGym.com, creates financial clarity at CreatingAnswers.com, and shows off Financial Art at Facebook.
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