We have seen the advertisements that promote a new pill, diet, or product that promises to help you lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. It seems too good to be true; but, at the same time you wonder if it is worth a try. When we fall for these scams, we are choosing short term progress over long term fitness. The shortcut may lower the number on the scale initially, but this will not be sustainable change. Eventually, the change stagnates and may even revert you to your previous state. Although it can seem daunting and complex, there is no secret to staying healthy. So why do so many people struggle in this area of their lives? The challenges people have with being healthy are the same problems they face with managing their finances. Those who seek to cut corners may find themselves satisfied with their finances in the short run, but ultimately will fail to build wealth that can grow and support them throughout their lives.
With immediate gratification becoming more and more prevalent in society, it is important we understand which areas of our lives deserve more attention. Today we can do everything from our smartphones: read a book, watch tv, order food – all can be done with a click of a button on a single device. It is only natural that we would want to make all areas of our lives this convenient, which is why pills and diets sell. Immediate gratification techniques make us feel good in the moment, but some areas of our lives require more attention and effort. With something as important as your finances, it is a bad idea to rely on a quick fix. Instead, our finances should be given attention and time in order to be viewed strategically. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” a perfect phrase to describe building wealth and creating a fit lifestyle. A long-term plan will guarantee more success when compared to a short-sighted opportunity.
Once you have a plan in place, it is time to put it into action. In any area of our lives (whether that be fitness or finance), our choices are weighed with an opportunity cost. What are we losing and gaining? If we decide to eat that extra slice of pizza, we are gaining 5 minutes of satisfaction, but we are giving up the progress we are trying to make to be healthier.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide which opportunity cost weighs more. Do you value the 5 minutes of feeling happy and full more than your long-term goal to feel and look healthier? For many the choice is clear, but the discipline is hard. This same concept applies to our everyday finances. For the choices we make we have given up something in return. In order to build your wealth, you may have to give up eating out so frequently or buying that new car. In terms of opportunity cost we need to give up immediate gratification in order to achieve sustainable wealth.
So how can you practice financial discipline and long-term thinking? A not so obvious way to achieve your financial goals is by staying healthy. People who are healthy have the skills they need to practice more discipline in their lives. They need the self-control to say no to that extra slice of pizza, and they need time management skills to find time to exercise during their day. The skills that healthy people use everyday are the same skills that help people grow wealth. This is why many times the two go hand in hand. By developing healthy habits, you are training your mind to think long term, and you are practicing many skills like discipline, focus, patience, and self-control. Healthy people are not tempted by immediate gratification and can view the bigger picture. Therefore, healthier people with these skills will find managing their finances and building wealth a lot easier since they are already used to being long term oriented. Being mindful of what you put into your body will translate into being mindful about how you spend your money. Losing weight the proper way will not happen overnight, and neither will building wealth, but by practicing healthy living, it will be much easier to achieve your goals, whether in finance or in fitness.