Is it your goal to be both fiscally fit and physically fit in 2021? If so, you chose a great time to do so. The start of the new year is the time to reassess what works and what doesn’t.
As an estate planning attorney and a fitness coach, motivating others to accomplish their goals is second-nature. I’ve found that all my clients already have that internal will power and motivation but just need to tap into it. They are not external forces that randomly pop into our lives on a whim. Rather, individuals have the power to create both will power and motivation. The good news is that these enticing concepts are not outside of our reach but actually ignited through our decisions and actions.
But, let’s be honest. We have to get really uncomfortable in order to make progress. In the moment, it doesn’t feel good—it feels awful! It is training for a “new normal,” that unsettling place sacrifices and effort (especially hard coming off a “hot cocoa bomb” kind of holiday season).
Fiscally Fit and Physically Fit--Small Steps
As a fitness coach, the concept of “baby steps” towards physical fitness has always worked well. The idea came from the movie, “What About Bob?”. The doctor helped the patient get better by encouraging “baby steps” for each tough/terrifying positive act. Eventually, the patient met with success (and the doctor ended up as the patient!). Small, repeated successful steps will lead you to your goals.
To be physically fit is different for everyone. Many want to lose weight and build muscle. Others want control over what they are eating. We have goals and usually a strong desire. But, why is that not always enough? If it is wanted so badly, why does failure hit so easily? Some people take off running (no pun intended) while others have many false starts, ultimately achieving a goal or a compromise.
It is no difference than fiscal fitness. It involves nearly the same precise steps. As an estate planner, my focus is on saving the money you have worked so hard for by avoiding expensive probates or structuring to avoid tax payouts. Saving and curbing spending is also not second-nature to everyone. It takes the same exercises in will power to strengthen your decision-making abilities, accomplishing positive acts (and, thus, positive results) along the way.
Physically Fit—Five Steps to Success
After working with hundreds of clients over nine years, successful participants wanting to lose weight, build muscle and control eating have these things in common:
- Choose your Path. It does not matter which plan you choose as long as you are burning more calories than you take in. Just do it. Join a gym, do at-home workouts, or get a workout partner. Put some “skin in the game” by purchasing something so you are compelled to get your money’s worth. I love the phrase, “choose your hard.” Working out each day is hard, but so is being unfit and experiencing the resulting health problems. Which do you want to be?
- Lift weights. The only way to change your body shape is through weights. A great weight-lifting plan (light or heavy weights) will provide tone, calorie-burning and confidence. Start lifting weights for 5 minutes a day and building up each week.
- Meal Plan-Food is key. Your abs and overall health/look are made in the kitchen. Cutting out processed foods (start by ridding yourself of one habit a week) and adding whole foods will help more than anything else.
- We all miss days or get off our meal plans due to momentary weakness or dealing with friends/family members that encourage us to “give in” as misery loves company. (Be prepared to counter those that unintentionally thwart your goals). There is a huge difference between missing a day and letting it turn into two weeks, or falling off completely. Our mental health needs attention too. Feeding it with meditation (few minutes a day) is a great start.
- Mental Strength. Your mind gives up before your body does. Strengthen your mind just as you nourish your body and exercise your muscles. Listen to motivational audios daily, write in a gratitude journal, make a vision board—whatever it takes.
Fiscally Fit—Five Steps to Success
Being “fiscally fit” is not that different from the steps needed for physical fitness. From my multiple self-study courses and books on “wealth,” these techniques seem to work well generally. Once you reach your goals, it is important to keep concentrating on building wealth, having long-term savings plans, adequate insurance, and making smart decisions to keep the money in your family (rather than paying it out in fees, taxes, penalties, probates, and the like).
- Decide on a plan. Awareness is key. Many start with a plan to reduce/rid debt, build up emergency funds (nest egg) and then invest the assets (property, higher interest accounts, stocks, funds, etc.).
- Just as getting in physical shape involves eating and working out, “fiscal fitness” involves a combination of spending and saving. Start focusing on the credit card swipes, Amazon charges and Starbucks impulse buys. What changes can be made?
- If you cannot make more, you need to hold onto the money you have. Some make it a fun game, others tuck it away so they cannot even see their savings. Don’t forget to create an estate plan focusing on adequate insurance for your family, avoiding taxes and unnecessary probate expenses.
- Impulse buys will occur. Either return purchases or sacrifice in other areas. Mainly, get right back at it, taking the time to nourish your mindset and anxiety with relaxation and meditation.
- Mental Strength. We really need less stuff than we think. Look how we all held back in 2020 (against our wishes) and still survived—less entertainment, less eating out, less shopping. Step by step, think twice before you buy anything. Do you truly need it?
Get it Done in '21
Being both fiscally fit and physically fit is within your reach. The start of a new year is a superb time to focus on turning a corner and making fresh, healthy decisions. In the moment, you will have to feel uncomfortable. But it is in those uncomfortable moments that real change occurs.
Our theme this month is “Get it done in ’21!”. Do you need to be more fiscally fit? Is physical fitness (mind and body) one of your goals? Here is to a better you in 2021!
Lori Vella is an Estate Planning and Business Attorney. She works virtually throughout Florida and New York, but has her home office in Tampa, Florida. She is mom to a little boy which ignited the passion for helping other families. She and her son enjoy car rides, playgrounds and taking mini-adventures. They also have an organic garden that surprisingly yields vegetables. Lori considers herself well-versed in Seinfeld and welcomes any trivia!
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