I was really struck by “How did I get here“‘s post on wanting to lose weight, and setting out a plan to do so.
It’s so strongly related to the same discipline and habit-forming required to get out of debt, I’d thought I’d list the similarities.
Nothing happens without willpower. You have to have a desire for change, any sort of change.
- To lose weight, you need to tell yourself: I need to be _____ thinner.
- To get out of debt, you need to tell yourself: I need to be debt-free.
Plan and a Deadline
A goal is useless without a plan and a deadline. It’s just a wishful dream at that point.
Something realistic so you don’t give up when you don’t meet your goals, and something slightly challenging.
- To lose weight, you need a plan: exercise, eating less calories, losing 5 pounds a month.
- To get out of debt you also need a plan: the budget and a deadline
Tracking and Execution
Now the hardest part: execution and tracking progress.
The plan and the determination can be strong and even easy to bring together, but the actual execution of your said plan can be difficult.
- To lose weight, many people count calories or watch their junk food consumption.
- To get out of debt, people track their expenses against their budget.
When you reach milestones, treat yourself to something reasonable.
- For losing weight: A new top or new pants in a smaller size, or a SMALL craving.
- For getting out of debt: That purchase you’ve been saving aside for.
Having a support group is such a great way to stay on track.
- For losing weight: A friend who also wants to lose weight, or eat healthier.
- For getting out of debt: A friend who has a financial goal to meet as well, or online communities.
The Same Habits are Formed
Both personal finance and fitness use the same habits.
You have to use your willpower and exercise your discipline to be able to grow stronger in the face of temptation, if it shows up in the shape of a cupcake or that new car you’re lusting after.
I read a similar theme in a lot of my personal finance books, that there seemed to be a definite correlation between millionaires and their weight. They equated the same disciplines to be exercised in both — gaining wealth and staying fit.
One millionaire even said that if he didn’t get up every morning to exercise for an hour, he wouldn’t be able to feel energized or ready to tackle the day at his business.
10,000 Hours vs 1000 Hours
Of course, both getting out of debt, gaining wealth and losing weight to stay fit wouldn’t exist without some hard work.
It takes about 10,000 hours to be good at something, and 18 days (I think) to form a habit.
If you do an activity 18 days in a row, apparently you’re so used to the routine, you’ll stick to it.
Personally, I say it takes one thousand hours to form a habit.
Why? Well I’ve done activities 18 days in a row only to slack off on the 19th.
1000 hours however, means if you worked out an hour every single day for a year, you’d be up to 365, and you’d have that habit down PAT in less than 3 years.
In the instance of money management, it took me about 3 years to get to this point, where I feel comfortable enough with my spending and saving, that I am finally relaxed about my money.
3 years = 1095 hours
It’s a habit now. I can’t go without doing any or all of the following in a week:
- following a budget
- looking at my spending for the month
- checking my investments daily
- read the news on my investments and adjust accordingly
- reconciling my credit card to make sure I don’t miss any transactions
- get receipts for everything I spend
- enter said receipts
- project my budget for next month
- project my spending for next year
- reading money blogs and getting inspired by so many
The above is at least 7 hours a week, not including all the darn blogging I do about money 🙂
If I were to lose weight, I suppose I’d follow the same workout regime which would be about 7-10 hours a week:
- watching my calorie intake for the day
- reading labels
- cutting back on oils, fats, salt and sugar
- re-training my body to eat healthier (slowly)
- cooking at home to control portions & oils rather than eating out
- bringing snacks I made to work
- avoiding junk food
- going to the gym daily for an hour (or in my case, walking for an hour)
- not going into restaurants/junk food meccas to be tempted
- walking rather than taking my car if I can (I consider 5km and under to be easily walkable)
- taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- getting inspired/motivated by reading fitness blogs