I love finance and fitness. My financial interests cover a wide range of topics, including investing (lots of subtopics here), personal finance, estate planning, tax planning, etc. For me personally, fitness is lifting weights, riding my bike, hiking, and playing basketball. Over the years while researching finance and fitness, I have discovered how much overlap there is between the two subjects. When you spend a lot of time researching a subject or performing an activity, you begin to see how its fundamental elements apply to other areas as well.
Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. I’m not going to try and hypothesize the exact reasons that is, but at the end of the day, eating healthy and exercising regularly takes time and a lot of discipline.
I was in my early 20’s, working full-time and sitting at a desk for over 8 hours a day. I wasn’t watching what I was eating, was drinking too much, and not regularly exercising. I thought to myself – I’m 23, I already have back pain, get sick too often, and Saturday and Sunday mornings are stuck in bed or on the couch. Something has to change.
I started researching fitness. Weightlifting, as I knew it, revolved around body building type programs. Spending two hours at the gym, six times a week didn’t appeal to me. Luckily, I stumbled across powerlifting. I could finish a workout in 45 to 60 minutes, workout only three or four times a week, build strength, and see results? Sign me up! I’ve been powerlifting ever since.
Around the same time I discovered powerlifting, I moved to New York City and decided to really dial in my personal finances since friends and family had warned me how expensive it was to live there. I spent hours, upon hours reading books and blogs. Slowly, but surely, I developed the fundamentals needed to ensure my financial life was on a successful path.
To stick to my finance and fitness goals, I had to develop discipline and an underlying reason for following through. Both fitness and finance (specifically investing) are long term propositions. You’re usually not going to see big results right away. It could take months, it could takes years, and to see big results it will most likely take decades.
Compound interest, like change in body composition, takes time to really see. It’s not like the lottery, where you know instantly if you’ve won or lost. In American society, it’s suggested that people should seek things out that will provide instant gratification. That’s the opposite of what working out and prioritizing your personal finances does. You have to be in it for the long haul.
A method to make the switch to a more long-term focus and mentality regarding finances and fitness (or whatever your long-term goals are), is to picture how your future would look on your current path. A 23 year old that is unhealthy and doesn’t have a handle on their finances is one thing, but picturing yourself in that position at 45 might scare you into making changes. It worked for me.
Don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t easy. It took years of practice to get to the point where I am happy with my fitness and finance progression. And believe me, there will always be room for improvement. The key was finding what worked for me. Running? I knew right away that wasn’t right for me, so I kept searching. Maybe your thing won’t be powerlifting, maybe it will be Brazilian Jujitsu, or something else. Just take the time to go find that thing. 45 year old you will appreciate current you for it.