Okay, despite vast differences in our political and religious beliefs, we all have similar conviction for few things in our lives — we want better health and better wealth.
Is there any nexus between health and wealth ? I think so.
Health and wealth are alter egos — each is incomplete without the other.
In this article, I’ve tried to focus more on the psychological aspect of health and wealth.
Tip # 1 Recognize need for the change.
At the core of human behavior is the resistance to change. Resistance is like a tango — interaction marked by a lack of straightforwardness. Change requires work and expects us to abandon familiar habits and venture into the unknown. It’s normally our mute behavior towards the plight of our health and wealth that plays major role in the resistance towards a drastic change. I genuinely think that coercion is sometimes the most practical tactics to force the change when change is inevitable either to shape up our health or to shape up our wealth. I tend to disagree, in this case, with the Law of Attraction which states that we attract what we think about. Contrary to that belief, thoughts of job loss may become the coercion to motivate our mind and to overcome resistance to the change our financial habits; similarly, thoughts of heart attack or lung cancer may become the coercion to motivate our mind to quit smoking.
Tip # 2 Eat Less, spend less.
When we disregard our inner cues of hunger and wellness, we tend to focus on the external solution for our problems. This thought process leads us to plain old overeating; similarly, when we disregard our inner cues of happiness and peace, we tend to lean towards external solution of spending to create life style to please others. Overeating is a tax on our health and spending is a tax on our wealth. Both overeating and over spending are the result of fixation on “because we want it, because we deserve it, or because it is there.” When we live in false high mood of “wants”, we tend to focus on excess — either eating or spending. I’ve found that meditation has played a major role in finding inner cues in my life. By daily meditation, I’ve become aware of my needs in terms of my health and finance. I take daily walk around the backyard in the morning. This simple act of closeness to nature brings tremendous awareness. It may be exercising, running, jogging or some other natural activity for you to bring awareness.
Money is the most envied, but the least enjoyed. Health is the most enjoyed, but the least envied.
-Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) British clergyman, sportsman and author.
Tip # 3 Nurturing is the key.
Nurturing is important to shape up health and wealth. “What is it ?,” you may ask. Nurturing is the process of listening to our inner voice. Nurturing is akin to depositing money in the bank. It allows us to focus on our goals. It allows us to set-limits on what we consider excess, either food or spending. I consider limit-setting as withdrawal from my savings account. Limit-setting alerts our mind to abstain from food that we consider unhealthy or to abstain from spending, we consider “wants” and not “needs”. For example, one of my best friends has implemented a simple rule of sharing breakfast with his wife. They split a sandwich. Rule is that each must ask for a bite, and his spouse must feed it to him. This is a classic example of nurturing and limit-setting. I like to prepare a list of things to buy and ask my wife — whom I consider wiser than I –to review and approve. When we feel love, we tend to find inner strength to overcome impulse of “wants” and remain steadfast at what we intend to achieve. Nurturing also comes from internal sources like training, learning about eating habits and exercise plans for the healthy life. Similarly, internal source of nurturing for wealth is to learn the value of money in your life — budgeting, spending less than you earn. External source of nurturing comes from hiring a coach, or a mentor. It may be a fitness expert for your health or a financial planner for your wealth. This brings up an interesting subject of what I call “checking-in”.
Tip # 4 “Checking-in” .
I am ceaselessly amazed at how much an athlete improves when he/she gets a coach who inspires a total transformation. I consider this process of external nurturing – “checking-in”. For health, it may simply be a friend with whom you check in each morning for five minutes to discuss your food and exercise from the day before. It may be a diary in which you write about what you eat including calories and how much time you spent exercising. To shape up your wealth, it’s equally important to check-in with a financial planner to set a wealth plan, to check with spouse or friend about the spending and budgeting habits and to keep diary of the progress made.
Tip # 5 Learn to set goals.
You’ve read volumes of articles on goal settings. I am, therefore, not venturing into the details of goal settings. However, I’d like to stress importance of goal setting as it applies to both health and wealth. By setting goals, we attain focus on what needs to be achieved. For example, last year I weighed 172 lbs. So, I decided to lose 12 lbs in 6 months. I actually achieved the goal in 4 months by walking over 16,000 steps every day.
Some of the goals to shape up your health and wealth:
- Spend less money than I earn — Develop budget and set an amount for the spending by each month.
- Have no debts(other than the mortgage) — Set goal to be debt free by set date.
- Meditate daily; or practice yoga; or walk 5 miles daily.
- Connect with your inner self, not with your possessions — involve with selfless activities at church or a non-profit outfit which allows you to focus more on contentment than being possessed by your possessions.
The first wealth is health.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.
(Photo courtesy: Namey McNamerson)