As my wife Kristen and I go down the racetrack of life, we continue to seek out and accomplish new athletic achievements on a regular basis. It might be a relaxed run or a 12 hour GoRuck challenge – no matter what, we support each other to eat and live healthy. In fact, since we’re both also retired college athletes, its awkward when there isn’t a softball game, CrossFit Lakeland class, or group yoga to go to on our weeknights.
We often talk about what our next goals should be, and just recently, I was daydreaming about winning the member-guest golf tournament at my local golf course. It was then I thought about the time and practice it would take for me to actually get to that level. The planning, the weekly driving range time I would need to put in, and all the statistics tracking too, phew! That’s when it dawned on me:
Regular goal setting is essential for financial fitness
Along with setting higher and higher health and fitness goals for ourselves, we can also be setting higher financial goals. For example, increasing our savings or paying toward our debts.
Remember that It’s important to set goals that are realist
ic – I’d love to be the golf club champion, but you know… still working on my swing! The same is true for your finances. When working towards a financial goal such as saving more, take it step by step.
Two achievable goals to win at your finances
- For example, consider a small emergency fund to help you out if something were to happen, like a blown engine or a family emergency. Having a “disaster fund” is so often overlooked, and can be devastating to your finances.
- Focus on paying off debt, little by little, such as organizing your retirement plan contributions or lowering expenses.
Those two goals are especially relevant to your financial wellness! But how will you achieve them?
Financial fitness comes from routine and practice
So, I found a daily running routine printed out on the counter by my wife the other day. She was preparing for a half marathon she wanted to run within 2 months. The routine was 6 weeks of running 1-3 miles, 3 times a week, and ramped up to running 10 miles, 2 times a week.
And just like how my wife is preparing for that race, the next step to financial fitness is to practice and put effective financial routines in place. Discipline helps to simplify our financial lives by creating habits through things like routine budgeting and paying down debt.
How to keep track of your financial fitness
All that practice needs to pay off, you know. Keeping track of your financial fitness isn’t unlike writing down your new max rep amount or your highest score. It’s a way to not only keep you motivated, but also to see how much you’ve improved financially. Here’s some tips for keeping track of your financial health:
- Use a financial organizer to help manage your accounts and your investment portfolio
- Review your risk tolerance on a regular basis, and compare this to how your life goals are changing.
- Check out debt calculators to figure out the best way to pay off your debts as quickly as possible.
- Check your credit history annually.
- Work with a financial advisor if you have any questions or are looking for more advice.
The key to a successful financial fitness plan: Stay strong
In the end, achieving these goals can be challenging, whether it’s fixing my horrendous golf swing, or — for my wife — dealing with how much she dislikes running only 4 weeks into her training!
Stick to your routines, be patient and persistent, and have fun. This will help you realize those gains as well as crush your setbacks. Becoming debt free or growing your first IRA feels just like crossing a finish line; I guarantee as soon as you reach your goals you’ll be seeking your next personal best.