This is the third part in our series on Health and Wealth.  

Find your One Thing

This week, my personal trainer and I were discussing being unfit.  No one makes a choice to be unfit.  It’s not one decision.  It is in fact the sum of many, many mornings of pressing the snooze button instead of going to the gym.  And it’s not one cupcake that makes you fat.  It’s the result of many ‘cheats’ that add up together.  Wealth is no different.  Unless you win the lottery from the first ticket you ever buy, wealth is not a single event.

And hopefully, by this stage in life, we’ve each worked out that crash diets and a 2 week boot camp aren’t a long term solution to health.  Similarly, there is no ‘get rich quick’ scheme out there.  In fact, according to the book, The Millionaire Next Door, you have a 1 in 4000 chance of getting rich quick.  Yet you have a 3 in 100 chance of doing it the good old fashioned way – working hard daily.  That means, you’re 120 times more likely to be wealthy based on daily habits.

It starts with your mindset…

Ever heard your friends say “I’m just not in the right head space to lose weight”?  Mindset is everything.  And it seems that each great thinker of our time from the ancients to now agree.  Marcus Aurelius, author of Meditations on Stoic Philosophy and a Roman Emperor in the second century said,

You have the power of mind – not outside events.  Realise this, and you will find strength.

And more recently Nancy Kline, author of Time to Think, puts it this way:

Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first

So, if you want good quality health or good quality wealth, you need to “get your mind right” as my dad would say.  Mindset.  Defined as “A mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretation of situations”

How you think about wealth (or health) in that tiny moment as the alarm goes off is key.  Key to whether you’ll make that extra money.  Key to whether you’ll go for a run.  And key to whether you’ll end up retiring being able to live out your dreams.

You see, the problem with both health and wealth is because no one small action will dramatically affect either, it really IS okay to choose to have one chocolate.  So long as the other 99% of the time you choose not to.  When it comes to money, I wrote that the key to being able to stick to your wealth goals lies is the ability to buy yourself something nice every now and then.

The big BUT lies in that you respond 99% of the time by not eating the cupcake so the 1% won’t matter.  Mindset, as the definition notes, determines your response.  And it also determines how you interpret the situation.  Do you think that it’s so unfair that you need to wake up the hour early to earn your second income stream?  Or that it’s unfair that Mary can eat cupcakes and stay thin?  Or do you interpret that alarm clock as your call to extra money – and how lucky you are to have that opportunity to add your income that millions around the world don’t have.

… and then is re-enforced by your daily habits and choices.

Research shows that every decision we make drains the brain of fuel.  And too many decisions lead to decision fatigue.  Charles Duhig in his book The Power of Habit talks about ‘keystone habits’.  His view is that “success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers”.

It’s therefore key to identify what is the one high impact thing you can do to either save more money or earn more income.  It usually fall into the categories: Stop, Start and Continue.  Identify the one with the biggest impact, and then work out how you make it a daily habit.

6 Steps to discovering the One Thing you need to do to change your wealth

(You can download our beautiful worksheet here)

  1. Get two pieces of paper and make a heading for the first one:  Reduce Expenses and for the second one: Increase Income
  2. Divide each page on Reduce Expenses into 3 columns headed START, STOP, CONTINUE
  3. Write down every single thing that comes to mind of what you can do in each of those categories.  Make sure it’s a complete brain dump – try to hit a minimum of 20 ideas for each column of expenses and for the Increase Income sheet.  Usually people get to between 6-10 and stop.  Force yourself to carry on… even if you start getting silly such as “do pole dancing shows at the pub down the road”.
  4. Review the list and highlight the top 3 ideas in each column that will have the most impact.  Not the ones you like.  The ones you know will have the biggest impact.
  5. Choose The One Thing.  Gary Keller’s book shows that you are most likely to succeed with a goal if you just choose one thing.
  6. Then break it down into smaller steps you can action step by step.  And focus ONLY on the next one on the list.  Don’t get overwhelmed by step 24.  Just focus on the next one.

I did this exercise and worked out that the most import keystone habit for me involves 10 seconds.  It’s the 10 seconds when the alarm goes off, and I decide whether to press snooze, or whether to get up.  If I just get into the habit of getting up, I will achieve three of my most important habits of my life:  I’ll exercise for 20 minutes, pray for 20 minutes, and spend 20 minutes setting the day’s goals and doing affirmations & visualisations.  Once i’m up, I don’t find it hard to spend the hour doing those three activities.  The key for me personally lies in those first 10 seconds.

For wealth, yours may be not turning on the TV which will mean that you can use that hour to make more money sitting on the couch.  Or ordering a glass of hot water and lemon when your colleagues all decide to go for the daily cappuccino’s in the work canteen.  This will help you be both healthier and wealthier!

Remember this…

So remember, every little choice we made before this day has determined both how healthy and how wealthy we are right now.  And every little choice we make from this moment on will determine how healthy or wealthy we are at in 10 years time, 20 years time and whether we are living comfortably when we’re 80.  Develop the right mindset to make sure you respond correctly in that millisecond when you choose the action you will take.  And then choose one habit to master that will make the most impact on your health and wealth.


The next in our Health and Wealth series is The Heartbreak of Debt and being Overweight