Goal setting principles can be applied across multiple domains and for me this extends to not only fitness, but also my finances.
While undertaking the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Program over the last few months I have learned so much about my own behaviours and attitudes towards money. For me, the most important part? Setting the right goals.
Here are my five tips for successful goal strategies that can be applied to fitness AND finance.
1. Set SMART goals
Using the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) goal setting principle can help with motivation, create clarity, and help you to work smarter, not harder.
For example, “I will lose three kilograms of body fat by reducing my daily calories by 300-500 calories and doing intentional exercise five days a week for three months to prepare for my wedding day”. Or, the finance equivalent, “I will automatically transfer 40% of my wage into my car savings account each fortnight to reach my $30,000 goal to buy a car by the end of the financial year”.
Whether it’s fitness, finance or something else, making a goal ‘SMART’ may be the difference between a hit or a miss.
2. Use short term goals as stepping stones to achieve your long-term goals
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a significant fitness or finance goal either. Ask yourself, what are the small steps that I need to take to get me to the big end result, then timeline them out. This provides some positive reinforcement to keep the motivational juices flowing. Plus, keeping an eye on whether I’m hitting those smaller wins along the way helps me keep an eye on the feasibility of the bigger goal and I can adjust if need be.
3. Invest in the right habits
Good habits are fundamental to our success. It’s important to identify the habits that will contribute to your desired outcome and consciously repeat them.
For example, in a fitness context, I might commit to going to the gym immediately before or after work to achieve a weight-loss goal. In a finance context, I may commit to an at-home lunch meal prep plan so that I’m not tempted to spend money on lunches out during the week. People are creatures of habit; frequent practice will get you a long way.
4. Make sacrifices and delay gratification for the sake of your goals
Practising self-control and not giving into temptations can be challenging, especially if I’m tired, have lost focus or are lacking motivation. It’s important to plan ahead for threats to my willpower by identifying what’s likely to jeopardise my goal and creating an action plan for those moments.
If I had a financial goal that involves buying my first home, I should hold off on that snazzy new car or big holiday. Delaying immediate pleasure for a greater purpose is empowering and rewarding, and that car or holiday can always be a goal for a later date.
5. Be consistent
As the saying goes “consistency is key”. When it comes to progress in the gym, there’s no doubt that consistency is vital for progress. My body requires frequent exposure to a stress stimulus in order to adapt, just like my bank account requires frequent deposits to grow.
You don’t need to be superhuman or lucky to achieve physical or financial SMART goals. Good planning, formulating the right habits and practicing discipline and willpower can get you a long way.
This article was kindly contributed by ANZ financial wellbeing ambassador Chris Nayna, a former cardiology nurse turned health and fitness guru. He inspires, motivates and educates people at his personal training studio, Train Station Fitness, as well as across social media.