Most of us have fitness on the mind this time of year. Even if it isn’t typically your first priority, there’s something about a month-long marathon of cookie nibbling and eggnog sipping that makes you want to dust off the treadmill in the basement and take your yoga pants to yoga for the first time in a while. When we say “fitness,” we’re usually talking about physical fitness…how many miles we can run, how many pounds we can lift, how many sun salutations we can do before our arms give out.
A healthy body is just part of the equation, though…which is why this year, we suggest making your personal fitness plan a three-parter:
- Physical fitness
- Mental fitness
- Financial fitness
This might seem like a lot to tackle, but the good news is, these don’t need to be entirely separate objectives. Instead of three parallel lines, think of it as a triangle, each side stronger because the other two are supporting it.
This is probably the most straightforward part of personal fitness, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you’re trying to juggle a family, a home, a career, and self-care, you can probably guess which ball most people drop first when it feels impossible to keep them all up in the air.
There’s no universal answer to the question of how to fit more exercise into your life…which may be the answer, in a way. If your goal is to go to the gym four days a week, but the only way that’s happening is if you never sleep or see your children, try to find short workouts you can do from home (like this one on Cupcakes and Cashmere) that you can squeeze into the small gaps of a busy schedule.
Another way to find the balance between family time and fitness time is to make them…the same time. If you have an infant, look for “baby and me” workouts. If you have older kids, take them hiking, biking, or running with you. If you have a toddler…well, just do everything your toddler does, and you’ll be in the best shape of your life.
When our bodies don’t feel good, we spend a lot of time thinking about it, so when they DO feel good, well…that makes a lot more space in our heads. Which brings us to…
This is where it gets trickier and less tangible. It’s a lot harder to quantify progress when you’re looking at mental versus physical health. Sure, you could have someone monitor and interpret your brain activity and see the differences between a calm mind and a stressed out mind, but getting your head checked all the time is probably pretty stressful all by itself. Whether you can measure it or not, though, you know when it happens. The weight lifting, the light pouring in…whatever metaphor you choose, the feeling is the same.
You probably already know you can download, Google, and subscribe your way to inspiration and guidance for physical fitness, but did you know that there are some great apps and online resources available for mental fitness as well?
- Lumosity is designed to literally be a workout for your brain…and because it offers cognitive exercises formatted as games, it’s a lot of fun, too!
- Headspace is a great app for anyone interested in beginning a meditation practice (Melinda Gates is a fan, so that’s not a bad endorsement).
There are plenty of ways you can work toward mental fitness without downloading anything to your phone, too…here’s a fantastic list of suggestions to get you started!
OK, so maybe your bod has never felt more temple-like and your brain is running like a well-oiled machine. But what about financial fitness? We all know (hopefully) that money isn’t everything, but we shouldn’t pretend that it’s nothing, either.
Just as you can be physically fit and not wear a size two or mentally fit and not have a genius-level IQ, you can absolutely be financially fit and not be super wealthy. So financial fitness isn’t about obsessing over money and how to make more of it, but rather developing healthy financial habits and eliminating stress in the context of YOUR specific income and expenses.
- Apps like Mint can help you stick to a budget without having to fire up an Excel spreadsheet every time you get home from the store.
- Acorns can help you save and invest without having to think too much about it.
- Our Life Covered (that’s us!) can help you find reliable, affordable life insurance so that if something should happen to you, your family’s financial fitness is better protected.
The Fitness Triangle
Again, remember that these aren’t separate goals, but instead very connected ones. They may shift in and out of focus, but as long as you maintain awareness of that connection, you’ll always be working toward all three objectives.
From family bonding to family life insurance, we hope this approach to fitness helps you feel stronger than ever!
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