Marathons and savvy money management are remarkably similar.
Both are hard. Both take a vision. A plan. Both take dedication. Both take persistence.
Training for a marathon is hard work – joints ache, muscles burn, the body screams for you to stop. It’s the same thing when it comes to money management – you yearn to spend, you promise yourself you’ll save tomorrow, and it’s really hard to get started.
How do I know they are similar? Because I’m doing both right now at the same time. Ok, I actually lied. I’m only training for a half marathon. Nonetheless, the principles remain the same. Let me explain.
Training for even a half marathon is intense. Well more intense than my “regular” workout routine. That would consist of working out based on how I was feeling which tends to fluctuate week to week. Half marathon training, on the other hand, is rigorous, fixed, and repetitive.
Instead of working out when I feel like it, I have to stick to a plan. I have to commit to keeping up with the plan or I won’t achieve my goal, which is to run 13.1094 miles (or 21.097 km).
21.097 km is a vast distance to cover. You could probably run it with no training if your life depended on it. But it’s not something most people can do without training. Training is important because you need to build up physically, but also mentally, for that distance.
Trying to go from no running to running a half marathon is like a debt-laden-spend-happy-consumer suddenly turning into a debt slayer and super saver. It takes time and training to transform yourself.
The training schedule for a half marathon is repetitive week after week, with little increases in distance run each week. It goes something like this:
Mondays – Strength and Stretch
Tuesdays – Run
Wednesdays – Run or Cross Train
Thursdays – Run
Fridays – Rest
Saturdays – Run or Cross Train
Sundays – Long Run
What I hope this shows is that there is a lot of commitment to training. I promise you wholeheartedly that there are many, many days where I don’t feel like staying on track. I just want to sit on the couch and watch BBC documentaries on Netflix instead. It is very hard sometimes to stay committed. But I do somehow. I grind it out. Because I have a goal that I want to achieve.
So, like training for a half marathon, it is similar with personal finance:
1) What is your goal? Visualize it.
2) Then you need to set up a plan towards attaining your goal.
3) You will need unwavering dedication.
4) You will need to be consistently persistent.
Set up a plan. Make it feasible and easy to start. Then increase the amounts you either save or pay down in debt with time. Make a personal finance blog if that helps with commitment. There are a lot of really friendly bloggers who will cheer you on and keep you accountable. It’s like having a training buddy. Then once you are in a rhythm, just keep grinding it out until you achieve your goal.
Paying off debt isn’t easy. Saving money isn’t easy. Neither is running a marathon (ok fine, half marathon). Training for one isn’t easy either. It’s a lot easier when you have a goal and create a structure, a plan, towards attaining that goal. Then you have to be fiercely dedicated and persistent. Then you’ll see progress. I promise.
Like all things in life, nothing worth doing is easy. Some things are harder than others, but it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve them.
I never dreamed I could run 21.097 km.
I never dreamed I could pay off $52,154.95 of student loan debt in my 20s.
I’m on my way towards achieving both.
You can too.