As holiday decorations begin to come down and all the things we’ve done so far this season move into our fond memory category, there is one thing that shifts to the forefront: a new year is upon us.
Probably like you, I spend a little time at the beginning of January reflecting on this past year, thinking especially on the successes as well as areas from which to learn.
Many of us might apply this same thinking to house projects, travel, investments and even our health. We may ask ourselves, “Which things did I accomplish?” and “What are some things that could use a bit more attention?”
If we were to focus on only two points of interest here, you can find many parallels between investment planning and health and fitness goal-making. We may not always view them both in the same light, but there are many similarities. Here are a few.
Something we preach often is that the best workout is the one that you’ll do.
But let’s say you are open to how your workout is designed and would do something recommended to you. What constitutes a well-rounded workout from a physiological standpoint?
Like a good investment strategy, a well-rounded health and fitness plan should include some diversity. This typically consists of strength training for muscle, some cardiovascular training for your heart health and to burn a few extra calories, as well as a nutrition strategy to bring it all together.
The benefits of strength training can be seen with improved energy, ability to do more work and to help us live longer. Many studies have been done showing the far-reaching, positive impacts of strength training and this key element of all good fitness programs should not be overlooked. Are you focusing on getting stronger?
On the other side of this fitness coin is cardiovascular training, which helps us take care of our heart and respiratory system. This helps stave off heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. It also helps us have better stamina, a stronger immune system and can improve our mood.
Health and fitness planning, like investment planning, is best done when we incorporate the help of a professional. Knowing that what you are doing makes sense, is safe and will work is worth having some professional guidance.
If you are like me, you wish you could go back in time, buy some GameStop stock super low and then sell it when it skyrocketed earlier this year.
As just about everyone I know who works in finance has told me, the GameStop skyrocket was a complete anomaly. But it grabs our attention because it’s fun and exciting to think about hitting the investment homerun, like buying Bitcoin when it first arrived or Google when it hit the street.
Most investment plans, though, are based on the long-term with progress over time. This is true too with health and fitness. Most people start a new year program with fire and intensity, trying to “make up for lost time” or see overnight change.
But like investing, the majority of lifelong planning is in getting started, progress over time and making adjustments as needed.
A mantra of ours in the gym is “progress over perfection.” We would prefer to see even a 1% change over time rather than trying to get everything perfect today. Obviously, perfection doesn’t exist, but incremental change does. It’s quite powerful when that 1% change compounds over time, just like compound interest.
Starting an individual retirement account (IRA) at 18 can see impressive results over time, just like consistency with your health and fitness.
I don’t think I have met a financial planner who said, “You know what, wait another 10 years before you start doing anything.”
You are probably more likely to hear them say, “Start today. In fact, we wish you could have started yesterday, or 10 years ago.” With investing, like health and fitness, there isn’t much you can do to make up for lost time, other than starting today instead of tomorrow.
Fitness works the same way. Sure, it would have been better to start yesterday or the day before, but today looks pretty amazing as well. It’s like the old proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now.”
Getting stronger, improving your cardiovascular health and incorporating a healthy nutrition plan are all things we would love to have started years ago. But if we start today, and then 20 years from now look back, you probably would be amazed at the compounded health and fitness interest you will have accrued.
The best part is that both are very doable: establishing a strong financial strategy as well as good health. You just have to start, keep at it and make adjustments over time.
And with this blank slate of a new year upon us, there is no better time to get on track than now. Your future self will appreciate the investment you made. Let’s start seeing what that compounded interest looks like. Happy holidays.
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