I’ve just completed my fifth week of training for a half marathon. What I’ve learned about myself through the training process easily parallels how people can shift their beliefs and habits around money.
The training plan I’m following is a 16-week plan to prepare for traveling 13.1 miles in one stretch. Notice I didn’t say run. That’s because I have NO intention of running the entire distance. I’m NOT a runner, nor do I plan to try and convince myself that I am one even temporarily.
So what prompted my decision to “run” this race? I needed a goal and a plan to get my body back in shape. Plus I wanted the challenge of doing something that feels like a stretch, but with a strong possibility of success. You might even call it a “bucket list” item.
In the past, working out on my own without a target was like trying to save money without a plan for it. Not rewarding and easy to make excuses about why I didn’t need to do it today. Even when I made the time and effort, it was less satisfying because it simply an item to check off my to do list, rather than a step in a larger plan.
I’m finding the progressively longer workouts with varying intensity (today was 9 intervals of 4 minutes walking and 2 minutes running, for a total of 54 minutes) are building my endurance without adding too much stress. And because the changes are incremental, my mind is less resistant to them.
Money and exercise are very similar that way: it’s our hidden beliefs and our thinking that get in our way, not our physical capabilities.
I used to have blocks around saving money. Because I was always on edge about the next “financial surprise” that might come my way, I didn’t believe I could save money. After all, I might need it. (Notice that irrational belief that saving money would make it inaccessible to me? A perfect example of a hidden belief.)
So, with prompting from my financial coach, I started by making one small deposit in an online savings account. The next month, I put in a little more. Guess what? I discovered I liked watching that account balance go up, so I learned to stretch the amount I thought I could “afford” to save. Without much effort and no sacrifice, I was able to save almost 10% of my income last year!
My beliefs about saving money have shifted and my concerns about “financial surprises” have pretty much disappeared. I now share the process and skills I learned with other folks can’t seem to get out of their own way with money.
Nancy Rae Evans  has been assisting people in managing both their personal and business finances for nearly two decades. She is certified as a Financial Recovery Counselor by the Financial Recovery Institute and as a Financial Health Counselor by the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors. Her holistic approach helps her clients reconnect to their values so they can direct their money in meaningful and satisfying ways. They learn practical money management skills and identify emotional aspects of money that have blocked them from reaching financial success. Nancy provides counseling sessions to clients across the U.S. She can be reached at www.EmbracingMoney.com