LOOKING TO IMPROVE your physical and financial health? You might have heard similar sounding advice: All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume—and to spend less than you make.
While there’s an element of truth to both platitudes, I don’t find either helpful. There’s a psychological canyon between such abstract ideas and putting them into practice.
One thing experience has taught me: If I’m authentically stirred to want to do something, I’ll go miles further than if obligation is my only motivation. I also need to come to terms with my own weakness. Willpower and determination can only take me so far. I need help to get where I want to go.
After years of floundering, I’ve now been working out five times a week for more than a year. What changed? I finally got honest about my own limitations.
My wife Sarah and I found a virtual fitness group with daily video workouts. We don’t have to pack a gym bag or drive to a class. There’s no need to arrange childcare. The workout routine is prepared for us. We just watch and imitate. We keep each other accountable, and we find encouragement in talking with friends in the group. It’s become a therapeutic way to start our day together before the kids get up.
What fascinated me about my workout experience: When I humbled myself and accepted help—when I bowled with the gutter guards up and gave myself a chance—it began to change me from the inside out. I began to want to work out, and I began to want to eat better, too. I’ve gone further than I ever thought I would.
I’ve found that the same principle applies to my financial health. When I get truly excited about achieving a financial goal—like funding an investment account, giving to a cause or starting a business—I’m a million times more likely to spend responsibly than if I’m motivated solely by the duty of sticking to a budget.
This article originally appeared on HumbleDollar.com