Physical and financial fitness are intertwined. We may overlook the relation between the two, but it’s there.
As 2017 approached, VISA did a survey of people asking how they planned to ring in the New Year, and what their goals were for the new year, among other things. There was one thing that stood out to me. The percentage of people who wanted to get physically fit was virtually tied with those who wanted to get financially fit, both at 35% of respondents.
On the surface, this seems like a fun coincidence. To me, it’s not.
The Value We Put on Numbers
There is a parallel between the value we put on certain numbers, whether it’s the numbers on the scale or the numbers in our bank account. We allow these numbers to define us. We allow these numbers to determine our self worth.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that most people want to focus on finances or fitness in 2017? I don’t.
In both the financial and fitness industries, the problem is dealt with at the surface level.
For example, eat less, exercise more and you’ll lose weight. Same with finances. Spend less than you earn and you can save money, invest it and live a high quality of life.
Physical and financial fitness are treated as simple math problems.
How many people do you know who have tried every diet, cleanse and fad workout and still can’t lose weight?
How many people do you know whose finances are a mess – they might overspend, be in debt, live paycheck to paycheck – even though they earn a fantastic living?
A lot, right? We’re in a society of incredibly smart people who can’t seem to solve a simple math problem.
The Beliefs Behind Physical and Financial Fitness
That’s because we’re not going deep enough. We’re not addressing what’s really going on when it comes to physical and financial fitness.
There are tons of reasons why people are in certain situations. Usually, it comes down to how we value ourselves, the beliefs we grew up with and what was modeled for us.
Whether we realize it or not, we picked up beliefs and behaviors throughout our childhood. Some have served us well. Others, not so much.
Now this isn’t a game of “Let’s Blame Everything on Our Parents.” It’s more about awareness. Tell me if any of these sound familiar to you:
- Money doesn’t grow on trees.
- You better clean your plate.
- Don’t you know there are kids in Africa who are starving right now.
- Don’t throw away the leftovers. You’re throwing money away.
These are things we probably have heard all our lives. We’re so familiar with them, we don’t even realize how they’re holding us back. Here’s an example of how these beliefs can hold us back.
Let’s say you grew up hearing “Don’t throw that away the leftovers. You’re throwing money away.”
Seems innocuous, right?
Did you ever question that? Probably not, because that was just normal. Most of us heard that growing up, including myself.
Because we had that belief, we would make sure we didn’t let food go to waste, for fear of “throwing money away.”
Our behaviors would reflect that belief. One behavior might be to eat as much as possible, to the point of overeating.
Now that’s just an example of one belief and how it can impact us as an adult. By uncovering these beliefs and how they manifest in our lives, we can make different decisions about them.
We can decide to keep following those old beliefs. Or we can choose to change and adopt different beliefs. Our decision will ultimately impact our physical and financial fitness.
How can you do that?
An Exercise to Try
Changing your beliefs isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. This is a starting point to become aware of the belief.
- Name something that you’ve wanted to change. Let’s say you want to get your bodyfat percentage down from 29% to 25%.
- Why haven’t you accomplished this in the past? There might be one reason, there might be 20. Write them all down.
- Do you notice a pattern? If so, write it down. If not, that’s OK.
- What is the belief behind that?
I had a client go through this exercise. She tried a number of things to lower her bodyfat percentage, but she would always get off track whenever there was free food available. If someone brought treats to work, she would not be able to walk away because the food was free.
After going through this exercise, she discovered that she grew up with the belief that “You can’t let good food go to waste.” So, she would always consume it. On a subconscious level, she would always consume food as a way to not let it go to waste.
This was a bit of an aha moment for her. Once she was able to become aware of this behavior and the belief behind it, she was able to change it. It took her a few times, but she was able to walk away from food that was being given out for free.
For a long time, she was looking to solve a math problem to reach her fitness goals. What it really took was awareness and empowering her to make a different choice.
What are the beliefs that have been holding you back? What’s one thing you can do to make a different choice?
Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.