by Bob Huntley CFP®, CHFC®, CKA®, Founder and Wealth Advisor
A couple of years ago I was approaching a big birthday. It was personally meaningful to me, and I used that looming date on the calendar to set a plan to get as fit as possible.
I knew myself well enough to know that I needed help. I’d been there before and learned that the motivation only took me so far. It would decrease as the days wore on and the work became monotonous. Plus, there were so many voices telling me the “best ways” to get and stay fit. Who to believe?
I decided to hire a personal trainer.
We set goals, developed a plan, and worked out together for 6 months. The results were astonishing. I found myself leaner, stronger, sleeping better, with more consistent energy levels and fewer mood swings up and down.
It worked so well that after six months I thought “I’ve got this now, I’ll just work out on my own”.
Well, two and a half years later, I know the truth. I slowly drifted back into my old eating habits. I went to the gym less and less. Eventually, I stopped lifting altogether. The muscle I had put on started to atrophy and I slowly lost the fitness gains that had been so exciting during the six months of working with my trainer.
What have I learned from this experience?
We, humans, are all prone to take the path of least resistance. Without help, we tend to put off doing today what can be done tomorrow.
Sure, there are a few people who have extreme personal discipline and are driven to consistently do what the rest of us mere mortals don’t tend to do. But those folks are very rare because of their freakish personal discipline.
The rest of us need help.
While working with the personal trainer, I thought a lot about the similarities between what he was doing for me and what we do for our clients.
- First, I was investing a lot of money in hiring this person to help me. That alone elevated my ongoing commitment to acting and doing the work. I didn’t want to pay for something I was not taking advantage of. We tend to value what we pay for.
- Second, I knew I had to show up because someone was waiting on me for my workout, 3 days per week. Accountability got my lazy rear end out of bed many mornings and to that gym. Also, I knew we were measuring body mass every Friday morning, so I was more consistent on my eating plan and cardio work during the off days. Again, accountability was key. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! I needed accountability.
- Third, I needed guidance on the best ways to lift, stretch and eat during these 6 months to get the results I was going for. My trainer was really acting like a coach in this capacity. We discussed early on what I wanted to achieve and what my goal date was (my big birthday!). I wasn’t trying to enter a bodybuilding contest. I just wanted to be leaner, stronger, and physically fit. So, he helped me craft a plan to get there so I would not just work hard but work hard on the right things. I needed coaching.
- Fourth, I needed someone watching out for me along the way. Someone who took a personal interest in my success! As we measured my progress, the trainer wanted me to succeed, and he knew when our plan needed tweaking. He had my back and was really my advocate. I needed an advocate. Someone who was just as interested in my reaching my goals as I was.
Is your financial fitness any different? You’ll value the advice you pay for. You need coaching, accountability and someone who has your back, serving as an advocate for your long-term interests.
Life is short and none of us want to live with regrets when it comes to our health or our finances.
Take some time and write down what financial freedom looks like for you and your family. If you need help, let’s discuss where you want to be and how you can get there.