I read a ton of blogs regularly, most of which are financial, and I’ve noticed a trend. When a blogger gets his/her finances under control, it seems like the blog almost always shifts toward fitness or exercise. Maybe the blogger starts eating healthier or running regularly or going to the gym. Some of them even change their entire focus toward fitness blogging or start another blog entirely. I’m not saying that’s a terrible thing; it’s just something that happens a lot.
As someone who seriously hates exercise, I’ve always been kind of disappointed when those kinds of changes happen. Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled when my friends meet a goal or accomplish something they’re proud of, whether it’s finance-related or not. (And goodness knows my blog has never been purely finance, even before I changed the name.) But I can’t help wondering why there’s such a natural progression from blogging about money to blogging about exercise or general health.
My Opinion: Why Finance Turns into Exercise
So much of our financial situations involve control. Even if you don’t have debt, it still takes effort to watch what you spend, track your net worth, or learn enough about investing to try it for yourself. For those who write about getting out of debt, though, I think the element of control is especially prominent. My spending problems absolutely screamed, I AM NOT IN CHARGE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE. Partly because I didn’t take responsibility for what I was doing, but also because I let money control me instead of the other way around.
It’s hard to change habits, especially those that are related to poor money management. Believe me, I know. But when you finally do, you feel like throwing a party! (Except you don’t because then you’d have to tell people in real life how stupid you were. Plus it would cost money that you don’t need to spend.)
So the nonexistent party is over, you’ve made lasting changes to your finances…. Now what?
For many people, it’s natural to look at other parts of their lives that might be out of control. And for a lot of us (I’m including myself here), excess spending is also a sign of excess in other areas. Like eating at restaurants all the time. Or just eating all the time, period. Or eating the wrong things. Or living an all-around unhealthy lifestyle. And once you’ve paid off a significant chunk of debt or followed a budget consistently, it empowers you to take control of other things. You realize, “Hey, I can do this! I thought I couldn’t but I’ve proven that I can! What can I conquer next?”
What’s the Point?
Don’t worry; there’s no danger of me suddenly becoming a fitness buff. Just ask the jeans that I’ve been squeezing myself into for the past few months. But I have noticed myself taking more interest in the steps other bloggers are taking to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ve pondered what I can do to lose weight and feel better in general without actually exercising. (What I’ve realized so far: I’m probably going to have to exercise.)
Much like my past attempts to control my spending (before the one that actually worked), I feel like I’m just not ready to conquer my health just yet. But I have moved into the contemplation stage, where I’m at least willing to entertain the idea of maybe working on it in the not-so-distant future. When I was younger, I was one of those annoying size zero people who could eat all I wanted and never gain a pound. I never had to develop good habits because I was naturally thin and fairly active. Unfortunately those days are gone. The difference now, though, is that after defeating my financial problems, I know for a fact I can gain control over my weight and my health, but only if I want to do it badly enough.
I have a lot of the same worries about fitness that I used to have about money. I don’t know if I can make lasting changes. I might slip back into old habits. I’m not sure I’m willing to work as hard as I know I’ll have to. I don’t want to be disappointed in myself so it’s better to just leave things alone. And I find it very interesting that other bloggers seem to go through the same thing, then proceed to work through it just as they did with their finances.
My questions for all of you:
Have you noticed the connection between personal finance and fitness? If you are working on your weight/health after conquering your finances, what do you think led from one to the other? As a reader, does it bother you when the topics shift on a blog you like?
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