What a personal fitness trainer can teach you about kicking your finances into shape

Most of us (whether we admit it or not) wish we were healthier, wealthier and wiser - some of us succeed but most of us struggle along the way.

Over the last few years I’ve worked with a personal trainer Peter who’s helped me achieve the ‘healthier’ part. During his many years training people he’s developed deep psychological insights into what helps and hinders people on their journey to become fitter and healthier.

At Zuper we’re on a mission to help people with their financial well-being, and Peter and I have come to the conclusion that we’re both dealing with the same underlying human psychology.

Here’s what we’ve learned in our time working together. Learnings that can be applied to your abs, just as much as they can to your wallet.

Progress takes time and life is mainly a marathon, not a sprint

We all want instant results but that’s just not how it works. Go out too hard or overdo it with your training and you risk injury, burnout or disappointment. None of this is fun, and after a while you’re likely to throw in the towel. You just can’t treat training for a marathon like you would a sprint, and that goes for your New Year’s resolutions as well.

Like marathon training, wealth is built little by little, each day, each month. Skip a daily coffee or your favourite Friday drink and you might save $1000s by the end of the year. Calculate it yourself here!

Our physical and financial health is an investment in ourselves, and the returns can be pretty huge

Investing in your physical health in the present sets you up for less injuries, fewer days off sick and more freedom and mobility later in life, plus money in the bank by avoiding medical costs! This all means a gym membership, personal trainer, a walk to work, or a regular run with a friend today is an investment with potentially great future returns.

Just like your physical health, regular deposits into your savings, investments and superannuation today will set you up for fewer risks and greater freedom later in life. The cost of delaying action now is your financial freedom in the future, and the future is coming at all of us pretty fast.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, flexibility is key

Holidays and celebrations are often a time to indulge, but there’s no rule saying you have to go overboard. We don’t need to eat ourselves into food comas or stay on the couch for a week. Get to know about the What the Hell effect and remember you’ll still enjoy indulging even if you dial it back 10-20%.

When it comes to money, we often fall victim to ‘What The Hell’ traps. The thing is, while we don’t have to save every dollar, we also don’t need to splurge it all on a flash sale. Try to find a balance you can stick with consistently. Be reasonable with yourself.

Measure everything and set goals

When you measure something, you can track and modify - if you can’t see the changes you can’t measure them. In terms of our physical health, there’s many things we can measure; how many training sessions, calories eaten, our weight, how many steps, laps, reps, how many drinks, hours sleep, glasses of water. The list goes on.

With money it’s no different - how much have you spent today, this week, or month? How much went on entertainment, bills, rent, groceries, coffee? How much are you saving? How are you keeping records? The more specific the better. There are lots of budgeting apps that can help you get this visibility and measure progress. When it comes to goals, forget lofty hopes and intentions, and instead set yourself S.M.A.R.T money goals to help you stay focused, on track and motivated.

Smart substitutes will often satisfy you

Ok, so instead of the ice-cream, get the low calorie version - both satisfy the sweet tooth craving. Try a banana not a chocolate. Can’t train today? Do some extra walking. No gym time? Do a 7min workout. Refill your G&T with just tonic every second drink.

Substitutes are gold for saving money too. Cook a special meal at home in place of a expensive dinner out. Plan a free experience instead of a shopping or buy second hand. There are smart substitutes all around you.

Transferable skills - you’ve got 'em

Chances are you’re a smart cookie when it comes to your health, so whether you’re into yoga, running, swimming, cycling, boxing, weights etc, look for ways to transfer what’s working over to managing your financial wellbeing this year.

And if you’re looking for a great PT to help you shed a few of those Christmas pudding pounds, why not hit up Peter at Fitness Eclipse? Not only might you carve out a six pack, you might just strengthen up that financial muscle too.

Pssst…if you want to see some slow mos of Kris flexing his real muscles, head here

Kris White

Kris White is the Chief Behavioural Officer at Zuper. Using behavioural science and evolutionary psychology his goal is to help the Zuper community increase their wealth and wellbeing.

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All material on this website has been prepared by Zuper Financial Pty Ltd (ABN 32 615 224 890) (Zuper), Zuper is a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR No.125855) of Instreet Investment Ltd (ABN 44 128 813 016; AFSL 434776). The information contained on this website and in our emails is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your financial objectives, situation or needs. Before making a decision in relation to your super you should read the Zuper Super PDS, speak to a licensed financial professional and consider if the information is appropriate to you.

Zuper Super is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited (ABN 49 006 421 638), (AFSL No 235153), as trustee of LESF Super (ABN 13 704 288 646).