[This is PART FOUR of my "Get your life in order" series. In case you missed the first ones, you may want to start from the beginning!]
Last week in “Get your life in order (Part 3)” we talked about some simple ways to clean up and optimize your online presence. The digital realm is definitely a very comfortable topic for me to talk about and, though, I could speak about it for ages, I decided to take a different approach this week and talk about some things that I, personally, SUCK at: personal finance management and health/wellness.
Just because these don’t sound like “your things,” doesn’t mean you should skip this one. These two are integral to your overall well-being and (whether you like it or not) influence your everyday life considerably. I guarantee you can use SOMETHING in this post or your money back!
- FINANCES (I scoffed at this one, too, but it is necessary)
- Your bank. I’m not about to advocate for any bank in particular here, but you should know how to manage your money and have a basic understanding of how your bank works. Things you need to know: your banks’ customer service numbers (hey, put this number and other helpful information in the Master Information Kit you should’ve created a couple weeks ago!), what to do if you accidentally overdraft (hint: go to the branch instead of calling customer service, they’re more likely to be understanding and bend the rules for you if possible), the basics of how to move money between accounts or financial institutions (also, be aware of fees associated with your specific bank!), and be sure to ask your banker some tips/tricks to make the banking system work specifically for your unique needs!
- Mobile apps/text banking. Why? Because they are cool, easy to use, and life-savers if you’re ever in a financial bind. If you have a smart-phone or Wi-Fi capable device, apps are a great way to stay connected to your institution on the go, make balance inquiries, and transfer money – use them! (tip: just because you have a smart phone does NOT mean you shouldn’t set up text banking if your bank offers it; it’s usually free and you don’t want to be at the mercy of your 3G/whatever connection if it is being less-than-cooperative).
- Mint.com Imagine a magical website where all of your financial information is in one, secure place; where you can create and keep track of financial goals and budgets; organize and get reminders for bills, recurring expenses, loans, and other financial accounts; and, overall, force you into being more accountable for your finances – that’s mint.com! Though I almost had an emotional breakdown once I actually saw (via color-coded, graphical representation) how much money I was actually spending every month, it has made me more responsible and encouraged me to keep budgets for recurring expenses, food, etc. I highly recommend mint for anyone who wants to worry less about their money situation and feel more confident about their finances. They have an app, too!
- HEALTH/FITNESS/NUTRITION (Just hear me out… Staying fit and feeling happy are just like banking)
- Do what works for you. First off, you need to stop comparing yourself to other people. They are not you; your body and mind work differently than theirs; you have different needs, strengths, and weaknesses; and (and this is the kicker) you need to figure out what those are! Don’t just go to the first generic fitness/wellness website you find on Google and don’t jump at the first fitness product you see that promises to change your life – you need to really sit down and figure out what lifestyle you want to live, what type of commitment you’re willing to buy into, and translate what you want/need into a plan of how to get there. Do this by examining your current health and ask yourself a few questions: Am I healthy? Am I as fit as I could be or want to be? Do I eat as well as I should? Do I sleep (well) enough? Do I have a wellness goal? What should I change realistically to get closer to my wellness goals? Start there and see where that takes you – find out your body type, your current measurements (not just inches and pounds, your BMI, your body fat percentage, and track your food/water intake, etc.), and do some research on how your body reacts to various exercise/nutrition changes. Find out what works (be honest with yourself, you already have a general idea about most of this but have just been putting it off or making excuses) and do it.
- Keep track. You’ve heard it before, but it’s definitely true – this is the first step to success. There are many ways to do this with fitness/wellness: good ‘ole pen/paper work fine, but (if you’re digging this whole 21st century thing) wireless fitness trackers are awesome – they keep track of everything from your steps, distane traveled, stair sets, even sleep! for you, automatically update (most of them online) AND have dashboards for recording food choices/H2O intake, and more (I, personally, use Fitbit, but there are quite a few reputable ones out there such as Jawbone UP or others). Keeping track of your fitness goals, activity levels, etc. does three important things: (1) allows room for experimentation and learning – this is extremely important if you’re just starting out and/or changing your routines, (2) motivates you, and (3) sets the stage for these next two…..
- Goal-setting. Yes, you’re right, we did talk about this a few weeks ago (hopefully you remember S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals?). If you don’t have a goal (ANY goal), you’re not going to make it far just going through the motions. The important piece to fitness/wellness goal-setting is to be realistic; wellness is a holistic approach to your overall well-being – it is not just fitness, nutrition, or any of its other facets. It’s everything. To truly give your wellness a priority takes time, consideration, and discipline – you better be ready for that and make your expectations realistic. Here are some tools to keep you on-track and motivated: Earndit, Runkeeper, Sleepyti.me, BeachBody.
- Accountability is huge for any undertaking, but especially if you find yourself making excuses (let’s face it, you’re lazy sometimes). Make your fitness goals and plans public, ask for help, and get some people to serve as accountability partners (maybe you’ll inspire them and they’ll turn into your workout buddies, too!). I recently started the BeachBody Challenge and, because I know the environment in which I thrive, have sought out a group of people to hold me accountable, encourage and challenge me. It’s a great environment and has actually turned out to be pretty fun.