Becoming Financially Fit for 2014

By April Lewis-Parks1. Understand why you want to be “financially fit”.

Whether it’s to save your marriage, retirement dreams, sending your kids to college, or financial freedom, make sure you know what motivates you, not anyone else. Once you figure out where your motivation lies, then you will want to prioritize what your goals. Be realistic and set financial goals that you can achieve without making major changes to your lifestyle. This will make it easier to stay on track with your money management.

2. Establish your “financial workout routine”.

Evaluate your spending habits. Pay close attention to how much you bring in each month as well as how much you are spending out. You will also want to keep tabs on your credit score every month while staying educated on how credit works and how credit can help to whip you into amazing financial shape. Keep in mind that with creating any routine, it takes 21 days to build a habit, so be patient if at first it may not be as easy as it first seemed.

3. Identify your workout buddies.

Just as you would have a workout buddy to hold you accountable, find a financial buddy to keep you in shape. Solicit advice from a financial services representative, a certified credit counselor, or a supportive family member or friends who is already financially fit. Keep a complete journal of all of your financial goals, and ask them to hold you accountable to these goals. Remember that you can’t expect what you don’t inspect.

4. Push yourself for growth.

This is a decision you have to make for yourself. Overcome the challenge of being comfortable with a bad diet (no savings) and create a habit of financial discipline. If you don’t get enough cardio (lack of income), seek ways to generate additional income.

5. Reward yourself

Dangle the carrot. Set a goal for yourself and when you reach it, give yourself that carrot. Keep in mind that the more we reward ourselves for doing the right things, the more likely we are to continuously do them.

When it comes to creating a financial fitness regimen that you want to stick to for at least 12 months you must first make the decision to improve your overall financial health.

April Lewis-Parks has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, she is a certified financial counselor, and a consumer affairs advocate. As the director of education and public relations for Consolidated Credit she is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues and acts as their consumer affairs advocate. As host the of MissMoneyBee.com, she promotes financial education and offers timely and informative personal finance articles to educate the public. April’s promotional efforts can be seen in past issues of the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, Consumer Reports, the Business Journals, Money Magazine, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, among others. Connect with April on Google+.