by Shannon Franklin
Spring is always a good time- the weather gets better, the days get longer, we feel like cleaning things out and there is
motivation for exercise, gardening, eating healthier and just a sense of rejuvenation.
Have you ever stopped to take a moment though
and think about how your health affects your over-all well-being both
AND financially? Many people don’t realize that one area of our
life can have an impact on a variety of other areas. For example,
if you live a healthy lifestyle, you are likely to live longer. Do
you have enough money saved to sustain your lifestyle in
retirement? To counterpoint that, if you don’t have the healthiest
lifestyle you might have more medical expenses. Can you
afford high medical bills and have money to invest for the future?
25 Days to Health and Wealth, courtesy of
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service, offers a variety of behavior
that can be applied simultaneously to improve your health and
personal finances. Here are 10 tips to get you started on road
to health and wealth fitness!
1. Track yourself- many people do not know how
many steps they take each day, how many calories they consume or
many dollars they spend each month. Track your steps by using a
pedometer (check out pedometer.com), write down what you eat
in a food journal and keep a tally of every penny you spend. Do
the math at the end of the week and see how many steps you
walked, how many calories you ate and how much you spent. After
figuring the amounts ask yourself- if there any “emotional”
triggers that caused a behavior such as spending too much, up
sizing a meal or not walking your daily goal.
2. Unload Your Childhood Baggage- believe it or not, childhood experiences affect health and personal finance behaviors. In
this case, baggage can be defined as the false, irrational feelings and beliefs which distort people’s thinking and affect
their health and financial behaviors. Recognize your baggage and turn it into a positive health and financial message. For
example: Negative: No matter what I eat, I am destined to be overweight.
Positive: Can’t change my genetics but I can go for a walk after dinner.
3. Put Your Mind to It-Visualize your health
and wealth goal, remind yourself of previous successes, use power
“I will save $100/month” instead of “I plan to save $100/month”.
Use negative behavior in past tense: “I used to not exercise
but now I can walk a 15 minute mile”.
4. Commit to Making a Change- behavior changes
take place in stages. Pre-contemplation (not being aware of the need
contemplation (thinking about possibly making a change),
preparation (getting ready to make a change), action (actually changing
behavior) and maintenance (sustaining the changed behavior).
Commitment to change takes place during the preparation stage
of change and is where we develop the “I will….” statements versus
continuing the “I plan to…” statements.
5. Defy Someone or Defy the Odds- Defiance
also has its positive aspects and can be used in a positive way to
health and your wealth. If someone says “you can’t run a 5k by
summer” prove them wrong by starting a Couch to 5k program
or by getting a gym membership and training. If you don’t have a
person to defy than defy the odds by not being another statistic.
6. Think Balance-Not Sacrifice-Balance the
intake of something with the outgo. Many people find that their weight
increases slowly over time. By taking small steps you can reverse
the outcome over time. For example, adding 15 minutes of
brisk walking every day will burn off about 100 calories and
result in about a 10 pound weight loss per year. Changing one
spending habit can also make a big difference. Cutting back on a
$1 soda from the soda machine each day will result in saving
$5 per week which over 4 weeks results in $20 a month saved!
7. Control Your Destiny- To achieve health and wealth, expect a positive outcome and work to achieve that outcome. Your attitude
and beliefs about your control over future life events are important success factors.
8. Make Progress Everyday- Any small step to
improve your health or increase your wealth is better than doing
it’s parking the car a little further away from the store to walk
more, clipping coupons to save money or reducing the number
of soda’s you drink, every little step helps towards taking care
of your health and wealth.
9. Get Help and Be Accountable- Other people
can be an obstacle or a resource to making progress toward health and
goals. The trick is to get supportive people like family, friends
and coworkers on your side. Try walking with a friend, cooking
healthy meals with your spouse or roommate, or walking the dog
each day. The best support comes from people who themselves
practice positive behavior and those who will provide critical
feedback when needed.
10. Say “NO’ to Super-Sizing- this doesn’t just relate to fast food! How many of us have purchased 3 of something because
the fourth one is free? Or how many of us have super-sized our fries for just a few cents more? Saying no to “meal deals”
will help you save on BOTH calories and money while saying no to non-food spending will save you from buying in excess so
that you aren’t spending money to save money.
These are just a few ideas for changing or
sustaining your financial health and wealth. Change takes time and can
so if you fall of the health or savings wagon, get back on and try
to avoid the things that tempt you. If you want to lose
weight, avoid buying cookies at the grocery store or if you want
to pay off your Macy’s credit card, avoid looking at store
ads or receiving email offers. Your health and wealth are related,
so don’t let yourself get under the weather! (Information
Â For more information on this topic or any
other, please contact Shannon Franklin, Purdue Cooperative Extension
HHS/4-H Youth Development, 812-438-3656 or email@example.com
Purdue University, Indiana Counties and U.S. Department of Agriculture
cooperating an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Institution.
Shannon Franklin is Purdue Extension/Ohio County Health and Human Sciences Educator/4-H Youth Development.