A Push Toward Financial Fitness
The challenge of building new habits is easier said than done. If you are like most people, it is a real struggle to create positive habits and break bad ones. You have probably started new many new endeavors only to fall right back into old patterns. You have great intentions, but may feel like you are doomed to be a creature of habit without a push.
If you are a creature of habit, congratulations! That means you are a normal human being. We are all driven toward routines and patterns in our lives. You have had a lot of practice in building the habits of your daily life. It is a big part of human nature and all of us need a form of structure. The problem comes when we want to make changes. Even if you have a strong desire to act you must work against your natural inclination.
You probably know someone who is a self-starter and has that extra gear of motivation. You may envy them since they seem to accomplish whatever they put their mind to. Even if you struggle to get that extra bit of ambition, you can reach the goals you set for yourself.
Finding the Right Support
Sometimes all you need is a push in the right direction. Whether you are talking financial or physical fitness, the right support can help tremendously. I think it is important to focus on the benefit of having social support when making changes in your life. No matter how excited you are about building new habits, the fact of the matter is that it is hard work. The most difficult part can be getting the right level of motivation to keep you going.
I’ve written in the past about the benefits of having a workout partner (here). Most of us are naturally inclined to be social and we feed off the energy of others. Having a form of accountability can be a real help when changing behavior. Even most people we assume to be self-starters find a strong connection with others who share their passions and interests. Those people end up providing support and encouragement along the way.
The Power of a Gentle Nudge
Researchers at Stanford University did a very interesting study that showed that even small amounts of social support can produce big results for fitness. The study divided 218 people into three groups. One group received human advice from a health educator. The second group received calls from a computer programmed to make follow up calls and get feedback. The third group did not receive any follow up calls after their initial introductory sessions. Read the study: (here)
The end results were outstanding. The group that received calls from a live person exercised an average of 100 minutes more per week. Even the group that received computerized follow up was performing nearly 80 minutes more per week. The third group did see improvement as well, but saw only about 25 minutes of exercise more on average.
The article points out that approximately 40% of people like to work out in groups. This makes sense because for a large group of people, willpower just is not enough. They need the support and encouragement of others along with the extra accountability. This is true for people tackling all sorts of change. Whether it is trying to stay physically fit or working on sobriety, there is a high percentage of people who need the extra assistance.
How can you apply this to your finances? The truth is that many of us could use the same type of support when making financial changes. Many people I work with struggle to build good money habits and feel intimidated by the process. Another difficulty with money is that a lot of us are taught not to discuss it with others. It is one thing to discuss exercise and get motivation from others, but to discuss finances might seem very awkward or even taboo.
The good news is that there are many types of support out there. If you need help to get motivated to tackle your budget, help is available. There is a large community on the internet of people like me who want to help you succeed. You have Facebook groups like @buildfinancialmuscle, LinkedIn groups, and other social media communities. There is an awesome personal finance community on the internet who provide blog articles, videos, and webinars to provide support.
There are endless varieties online to choose from. Find a group that fits your needs and has like-minded people. If you need more of a personal touch, check to see if you there are Meetup groups in your area. One of the reasons my clients hire me as a personal trainer or a financial planner is because they prefer the individual sessions. They need someone to give them guidance and direction and also enjoy the social aspect of one on one coaching. It also gives me a great deal of joy to build these types of relationships.
Find Your Tribe
Fortunately, social media and the internet have made money discussions easier. Do not let fear and procrastination hold you back from winning with your finances. One of the popular terms you see online these days is to “find your tribe”. Your tribe may include a network of family, friends, and others who want to help you succeed and provide support. Find a sense of community that works for you.
Whatever tribe you choose to assemble, just know you do not have to be on your own. If you are a person that feeds off of social support, take advantage of what is available. As I mentioned, there is a massive community of people online who want to help you win with money. There is a group just waiting that has people just like you who feed off of the encouragement of others.
I am always here to give you a gentle nudge forward. There was a group of people that pushed me to make positive changes both physically and financially. I was drawn to this business because I truly enjoy serving others. Remember, change is difficult but it is well worth the effort. Join the tribe and let’s get started!