How do you win at personal finance? You make more deposits than withdrawals and you stay out of debt. It’s pretty simple.
Do you have to be perfect? Do you have to make all deposits, zero withdrawals, and never use debt? This is impossible.
You get that, right? So why do people lose their minds when it comes to health and fitness? Why do they assume perfection is necessary? Why do they demolish themselves with shame and guilt every time they eat a slice of cake?
The same could be asked of all the crazy trainers and coaches out there. Why do they push perfectionism? Why do they demonize certain foods? Why do they use shame and guilt as weapons against their clients?
The formula for success in health and fitness is the same as the formula in personal finance: make more deposits than withdrawals and stay away from debt. Want to be successful faster, tip the ratio to favor deposits. Want to get to success slower? Allow for a few more withdrawals. Want to break even? Go 50/50.
Start By Making As Many Deposits As Possible
A deposit is any daily habit or behavior that moves you closer toward getting a body and life you love. Here are a few examples:
Eating a real-food meal. Every real-food meal you eat is a deposit in your health bank account. Those nutrients have made their way into your body and nothing can take that away from you.
Do What You Love – Today
Engaging in a DWYLT activity. Every physical activity that you do intentionally is a deposit. DWYLT is the foundation of my personal approach to fitness. It’s a way to stay fit and happy without needing extrinsic motivation. I love living “in” a hobby farm – 365/24 – raising chickens,feedingcows and collecting their manure, cutting fire wood. I go to my crossfit class 2 or 3 times per week to stretch and use muscles I would not use.
Any and all movement. Human beings require movement to function and thrive. One of the biggest challenges we face in modern society is sedentary behavior. So taking the stairs instead of the escalator, standing instead of sitting, walking around while you talk on the phone, and playing with your kids are all examples of micro-deposits. You have to ditch the “workout” mentality and start seeing movement as a type of nutrition that the body needs throughout the day.
Sleep Is A Deposit
Prioritizing sleep quantity and quality. Sleep has a huge influence on your energy, your cravings, your ability to lose fat, your propensity to develop disease, and more. Getting 8 hours of sleep instead of 6 or making changes to improve the quality of your sleep all represent deposits into your health bank account.
Cutting a toxic person out of your life. Toxic people are emotional vampires. They suck the energy and life out of you. Protecting yourself from people like this is a huge deposit.
Journaling. Journaling allows you to make the stuff swirling around your head tangible. This makes things like negative self-talk, toxic beliefs, and stress easier to deal with and overcome.
Spending time with a good friend. Time with friends and people you love refills your emotional cup.
Paying down financial debt. Financial debt is one of the biggest stressors in the modern world. Reducing this burden gives you more physical and emotional resources to reach your goals.
Make Less Withdrawals Than Deposits.
A withdrawal is a daily habit or behavior that moves you a little further away from your goals. Here are some quick examples:
Eating processed food. Processed food is addictive, nutritionally poor, toxic, and inflammatory.
Being too sedentary. The human body has to move. If you don’t move it, you’re withdrawing wealth from your health bank account.
Staying up too late. Your body needs a lot of rest to recovery and function properly. Staying up late occasionally is fine, but doing so on a consistent basis or when many other stressors are present quickly drains your account.
Allowing toxic people to stay around you. How can you win if people are constantly draining your emotional resolve and patience?
Sitting in rush hour traffic. Stress, stress, stress. It adds up.
Over-scheduling yourself. If you’re always doing things for others, you’re not investing in yourself. It’s draining and prevents you from making deposits at the same time. No good.
Stay Out Of Debt
“Debt” in this paradigm is anything that allows you to borrow success but that you have to pay for later. These are things that work in the short-term but fail miserably in the long-term. As Dr. Shaklee said in his book, A Study Course In Nutrition, part 3, page 32;
Examples of Managing Health Rather Than Living Healthily:
Calorie Counting / Weight Watchers. These classic Dieting models are all about restriction. They’re antagonistic strategies. At some point their manotony will fail and your great intentions will come crashing down in a fiery ball of spreadsheets.
Excessive exercise. You feel like you can keep up in the beginning, but your motivation and ability to “push yourself” day in and day out slowly unravel. It’s also very inflammatory and if you don’t quit, will lead you to eventual injury which will force you to stop. Just say no.
Diet drugs and pills. Quick fixes seem like a great option but they don’t give you the long term tools to be successful.
Willpower. Willpower is a finite resource. If your strategy is to will your way to success, I give you 90 days…max.
“Discipline.” Much like willpower, employing “discipline” (which usually means just forcing yourself to do it) is a terrible play.
Workout programs you hate. You have to enjoy every step of the process. The strategies have to be amicable—they have to work with your biological and psychological programming. That’s the only way to win for life.
Philosophy – It’s Not All About Nutrition And Fitness
As we discussed, getting a body you love doesn’t automatically result in a life you love. If you want a life you love, you have to actively work on that as well. This is a concept that a lot of people miss. They realize that having a broken body will negatively impact their life, but they don’t realize how much broken dreams and failed relationships negatively impact their ability to stay consistent with nutrition and fitness. The deposits you make in areas outside of nutrition and fitness will pay dividends toward getting a body you love.
So you have to start thinking about deposits and withdrawals in the right context. It’s not just about nutrition and fitness. Health is affected by a myriad of things, so deposits to your health bank account should come in a variety of ways. When you adopt this approach, the bank account philosophy becomes more than a path to a great body, it becomes the path to a richer life. This is what we all want.