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fiscal fitness

Fiscal Fitness Part III — Using Lessons Learned About Physical Fitness

Fiscal fitness has more in common with physical fitness than one might think. Many financial experts draw parallels between the two by using well-known elements of diet and exercise programs to illustrate how consumers can get their finances in order. In his blog post titled Eliminate Debt with 10 Successful Diet Principles, Leo Babuta, the creator and writer of zenhabits.net says, “Debt dieting and weight dieting are exactly the same. Personally, I’m doing both, and it’s striking how similar the two practices are.”1 They both involve setting goals and having the dedication to stick with what you’ve started. Both also require you to change your habits — whether that means eating a healthier diet to stay physically fit or trimming your excess spending to reach fiscal fitness. And there’s no quick or easy way to accomplish either, especially if you want to maintain fitness.

Here are a few principles of successful physical fitness programs and how they equate to building a stronger, healthier financial situation.


1. Set up a training regime = Write down your goals in detail.

In fitness training, you don’t just say, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds.” You need to go into detail about the changes you will make to your diet and lifestyle. Similarly, as you’re building your fiscal fitness, you need to define exactly how you will reach your goals.

Is your goal to pay off  your credit card debt? Or to get your credit history in order so you can buy a house? Maybe you want to move beyond living from paycheck to paycheck. Whatever your goals are, it’s important to list them and come up with specific ways to achieve them. Solutions might include: “On every payday I will put $50 toward my credit card balance.” Or, “I’ll start making my coffee at home rather than spending $5 every morning at the coffee shop.”

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