What Financial Management Can Teach Us about Living a Healthy Lifestyle

We all know it’s essential to be healthy; too often, it’s a matter of when we are forced to act upon this knowledge. We wait until something feels wrong, or a doctor tells us we need to change.

Finances are a separate but similar concern. Everyone would love to have more money and a stable financial outlook. But few people are taking charge of their financial behaviors to build wealth.

However, most people have more experience making decisions about budget and managing their incomes. Thus, if you seek to improve your health, you can easily borrow a few lessons from the realm of finance and apply them to your fitness and eating habits.

Look for the highest impact

A common tip to save money is to skip that daily latte. It might only cost about £2.50, but it adds up to £75 a month, and £912.50 a year. Put into that perspective, there are probably better things you could do with that sort of money.

But this advice exists without context. You can afford minor expenses if you can save on other areas with a high impact in the long term. Housing, for instance, can easily account for over a third of your budget. The right letting agents can find you an affordable and pleasant place to stay. The margins could be well over several years’ worth of drinking fancy coffee.

You can make a similar argument for health reasons. The average latte has 274 calories and 15 grams of fat. It’s roughly the equivalent of an egg sandwich but in liquid form. Many people have some food to go with their drinks. Those calories add up over the long run.

However, this again fails to take the big picture into account. It ignores the possibility that you could be pursuing an active lifestyle and burning far more calories than this small fraction of your daily intake represents. Or perhaps you might be engaging in far more impactful, unhealthy behaviors.

Make a lifelong commitment

Better health isn’t something you can achieve with a quick-fix solution. Much like the state of one’s finances, it’s the result of several factors interacting with each other over the years. By the time we strive to take action and make improvements, matters can be complicated. And our individual context will be different from everyone else’s.

Yet in the realm of financial management, common sense usually prevails. If you see a property being sold for a 50% discount, your mind has to be wondering, what’s the catch? It’s probably in dire need of repair or in a town that’s suffering from economic woes. We tend to realize that incredible bargains and get-rich-quick schemes are too good to be true, and that building a fortune takes years of sound practices.

The road to becoming healthy is likewise littered with false promises, fad diets, and intense workout programs. But people like to think that this work, and that they can somehow carry on with unhealthy practices. Inevitably, they crash and burn out after the first few weeks or months of an unsustainable regimen.

Balance discipline with joy

glass jars filled with coins

Health is like wealth; it’s an investment, and it needs to be managed carefully. If you set aside some of your income every month, you’ll be able to earn interest in a savings account or buy shares of stock. You’ll also develop the discipline needed to leave those funds untouched while getting by on the remainder of your disposable income.

Spare some time every week to buy fresh produce and prepare your own meals. Skip the junk food and snacks; make a habit of exercising each day, in whatever form of activity you find pleasant. It will take discipline, but you’ll get better. Eventually, you won’t miss your old behaviors; you’ll even be looking for new ways to improve.

Untangling the puzzle of your health situation is a very personal endeavor. Thus, it requires a personalized approach to nutrition and exercise. Don’t hesitate to talk to a few qualified professionals, such as your doctor or fitness trainer, about your goals or issues with your body. Their expertise will make a difference in getting you there without taking risks or shortcuts.

Above all, see to it that you’re always finding joy in the changes you make. Your finances are measured in exact numbers, but health is somewhat more ambiguous. You can check the calories and nutrient values on the label, but it won’t tell you how happy you might feel afterward.

Just as disposable income can sometimes be used to treat yourself to small creature comforts, you can have a slice of cake to go with that latte. As long as you’re making a positive difference in high-impact areas, you’ll be fine.

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