Financial Lessons From Training for a Marathon will be a 4 week series that will run every Wednesday until September 22, 2010.
In November 2007, I ran my first ever full marathon in Greece! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had never felt so accomplished and emotionally overwhelmed as I did when I crossed the finish line.
Getting to the finish line was a long journey that started the January before. Along with the intense training schedule there were 8 important lessons that I learned from the experience. These lessons not only applied to my run at the time but have since applied to many different aspects of my life, including personal finance.
Lesson 1: Importance of setting a goal.
Up until that year I had never really run before. Maybe in gym class as a kid here and there but it was not what I did for a regular workout. That year, I decided to make learning to run my New Year’s resolution. I signed up for a local running clinic and began my training the second week of January. I had such a blast. I met some really fun people and it didn’t take long before we were a tight knit group.
No matter how hard or impossible or crazy something might seem, set a goal to try to accomplish it. This is the same with finances. If you need start saving or need to get rid of that credit line, set a goal to do it.
Lesson 2: Accountability.
Accountability is one of the things in life that no matter how hard we may try to avoid it sometimes, it is always there. We need to be held accountable for our actions. When it came to my training, I trained with a friend. Every Saturday we would meet at 8 am to go for our distance run of the week. As we got into higher mileage, those runs could easily be 13, 14, or 16 miles. If it was a hot day or our muscles were sore, that run could last 3 hours or more. It could seem like a daunting feet and I could easily have become discouraged and decided to bail. But I didn’t. Why? Because I had committed to this goal of running the marathon and I couldn’t let myself down. I also could let my friend down who I had committed to train with. I needed to be responsible and held accountable.
It is the same with money. We need to own up to what we spend it on and where it goes. Even if we haven’t managed it was well as we should, being honest and accountable for it is the first step to heading in the right direction. It can be the same with your budget. Your budget is like the training schedule; it sets parameters and guidelines that you are to stick to. Be accountable to those and don’t fool yourself into thinking they don’t matter. It will only hurt you in the long run or in my case cost me the race.
Stay tuned for next week when two more important lessons will be discussed.