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Financial wellbeing and fitness as a yearly goal

18 February 2018

At this time of year, it's very easy to make plans and goals but harder to stick to them. How many of you want to get fit as a yearly goal? Payday lender 247Moneybox.com have gathered their thoughts, not only on how to stick to a new year's resolution but discuss a possible link between financial wellbeing and fitness.

Fit body fit mind

As established above, the online lender has highlighted the importance of habit and routine creation as being of key importance. However, what is just as important is what you do when actually taking part in the activity that is either your goal to do more of or is the means to that goal. The lender, at the start of this news commentary, cited fitness as one of the most popular new year goals. With that in mind, they explore the concept of a fit body and fit mind. But why is that?

What is fit?

A good question as there are many and varied definitions to the word or concept. Fitness is a relative term and might refer to an internal goal i.e. between one state and another e.g. I want to climb the stairs and not be out of breath. Fitness might also have an external reference point such as wanting to complete a marathon or bike ride. Whatever definition is selected the lender believes that this goal can be achieved in numerous ways and the particular path chosen should suit the individual if it has any chance of succeeding.

Dumbbells on a rack in the gym

Routine and habit

Once established as a habit, any activity can take on its own reward loop. This is irrespective of any physical rewards the body may create to lock in any particular behaviour. You can see this in action looking at the particular mug someone chooses in the office (even when they are all very similar), or the same parking spot in a carpark (where a number of different spots have the same advantages). It can be argued that with ever increasingly complex lives we have adapted to breaking our behaviour down into recognisable patters and routines in order to be able to cope mentally with the array of daily tasks we are required to perform. This is something that has a definite selective advantage if the concept of natural selection is introduced. Those individuals that can cope better with complex survival challenges are more likely to achieve better outcomes and therefore be more likely to stick around!

Virtuous circle

The lender is also keen to highlight that once a routine has been established it might be easier to add another routine. So, for example consider the phrase "when I do x I do y" if x is "I go to the gym" y could be "eat healthy when I get back". Some refer to this as a virtuous circle where one good behaviour leads to another and so on. The importance was to create the first good behaviour and crucially the routine that goes along with it.

Positive mission creep

Using the above concept of the virtuous circle it might have started to become clear that adopting one good behaviour can lead to another and this can spiral to other quite different behaviours. This is positive mission creep in action. Fitness or health can extend to loads of other areas for example a healthy relationship with your family or a higher level of emotional fitness to deal with stressful situations or even a healthy bank balance!

Show me the crossover

Now that we've established routine adoption and good behaviour patterns can extend into many different processes. Are there any cross overs in terms of skills? The payday lender believes there is. Good physical fitness can lead to a high degree of stamina which can increase your effectiveness at work. Working on the assumption that good performance equals better pay then you could be in line for a better bank balance in terms of the contribution your income makes. Obviously, this depends on a variety of factors not least how meritocratic your organisation is but as a general observation it may hold true to some extent.

Better stamina and better performance

Not only does physical fitness lead to better stamina but it can lead to better performance in other ways. For example, there is evidence to show that the fitter you are the more robust you are to illness and injury meaning that you are able to keep working when perhaps those around you are not. Why does this matter? Well it depends on the type of industry you work in but if it has any physical elements to it then the link is obvious. Also, if you are self-employed then the less sick days you have probably means the more revenue you can generate.

There are other ways job performance can be increased through being fit. An increased cardiovascular system means a better oxygen supply to all parts of the body including the brain. It is not a stretch to say that better blood flow to the brain results in better brain function or at least efficient or optimum brain function. This may result in better work performance.

The other side of the coin

Having established that being fit can boost income indirectly it can also help you on the other side of the coin, that of expenditure. To get fit, you are required to show tenacity, discipline and will power. Take these skills to your spending habits and you might find that you stick to your budget and avoid some of the traps when will power fails. For example, shops often put low value psychologically pleasing goods near the check-out to tempt you into some questionable purchases. We've all done it. 247Moneybox.com point out that if your will power is well exercised (in making you go to the gym for example), then you might find it easier to say no to that chocolate bar and set of headphones or phone cover case that you believe you may need but don't really!

It's fascinating to delve into the concept of human behaviour, patterns, habits and programming and an area that the payday lender puts a lot resources towards in making better lending decisions. Watch this space for more human psychology and behavioural articles.