Improving Your Finances and Health One Step at a Time

10,000 steps to personal financeThey say you should walk 10,000 steps per day to stay healthy.  Seeing as I work a desk job, I was certain I wasn’t walking anywhere near that much most days. I’m not a gym rat and don’t play sports. Just isn’t my thing.  Nonetheless, I still want to be healthy especially after my last visit to the dentist. I am committed to improving my health.

My employer is hosting a fitness challenge next week. Basically we form teams and everyone wears a pedometer.  The team that clocks the most steps wins the challenge and a cash prize. Normally, the introvert in me shy’s away from these activities. Too much pressure! However, my supervisor signed up to be a team captain and she needed more people to join her team.. Brownie points anyone?

I bought a pedometer at Target and wanted to test the thing out before the challenge started. I know these challenges are really just supposed to be for fun, but they stress me out. I don’t want to be the person with the fewest number of steps and hold the team back!  The brownie points better be worth it.

What I Discovered

Much to my surprise, I clocked nearly 8,000 steps on both Monday and Tuesday.  I’m doing much better than I originally thoughtIt shouldn’t be too hard to incorporate 2,000 more steps into my day. Not bad for someone who lives a  sedentary lifestyle. That’s a win in my book.

The discovery got me thinking. I tend to be very critical of myself. For example, I assumed that I only walked like 1,000 steps a day and was failing miserably at staying active. Turns out I’m doing a lot better than that. Yes, there’s definitely room for improvement, but I wasn’t giving myself any credit for the exercise I was getting. Finances are no exception to my critical self. I’m working on improving my finances. There’s no doubt that I’ve made mistakes with my money. I’ve purchased things I don’t need, spent too much money on eating out, and haven’t budget in the past.

But maybe I’m not doing so terribly? For some reason, I often fail to recognize my own victories. While I’ve made many mistakes, I’ve had many victories along the way in improving my finances. For example, I raised my salary more than 15% in 1.5 years. I invested in the stock market and have made out pretty well. I also learned how to budget successfully and save for retirement.

One Step at a Time

Improving your finances and/or health is a lot of work. You likely won’t see results overnight. Sometimes we beat ourselves up and focus on all the mistakes we’ve made in the past. Stop doing that! You are only hurting yourself. It may be hard to know where to start and how to measure success. After starting this pedometer challenge, my advice is to simply focus on taking one step at a time.  The road may be daunting but just keep at it. One step at a time.

I haven’t reached my goal of 10,000 steps a day just yet. When I first signed up for the challenge, I was skeptical about being able to keep up and succeed. After giving my pedometer a try, I realized I will reach my goal of 10K steps by making a few small adjustments to my schedule.  The same thing can be said for my finances. I haven’t paid off my student loans yet and certainly haven’t reached financial independence, but we will reach these goals one day. It’s all about taking the journey one step at a time. Keep calm and walk on.


Photo Credit:


  1. Good words, Liz! I think in finances, health, careers, etc. it’s easy to become impatient. In reality we are running a long race, not a sprint, towards whatever each of our individual goals are. I can became impatient easily but I need to keep reminding myself that my long-term goals won’t happen overnight. Each day I can do something to move closer to my goal, though.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…5 Inexpensive Ways to Enjoy YourselfMy Profile

    • No matter how big or how small it is important to do something everyday. Sometimes it’s skipping dessert to help improve my health. Sometimes it’s putting just an extra $20 towards the student loans this month. It’s key that you make some step towards improving yourself.

  2. That’s awesome that you are doing so much better at your daily exercise than you thought you were! I’ve been wearing a pedometer every day for something like the last 7 or 8 years and it has basically become a habit at this point- I love being able to glance at it and see how active I’ve been for the day.
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted…How I Save Time and Money by Shopping On AmazonMy Profile

    • I’ve really enjoyed tracking my progress. I think I’ll keep wearing mine even after the challenge is finished.

  3. Good luck with the challenge! Hope your team wins. I do the same thing…I tend to beat myself up for not being financially perfect. I wonder how everyone else can manage to have a 200 a month budget for groceries for a family of 4, yet I spend just over 300 on just me? But whereas my budget is big there, in other ways I spend a lot less. And as far as groceries, I can just try a few new things each month to see if I can lower my bill. Baby steps.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…A Budget Traveler In Iceland: Part OneMy Profile

  4. I really need to talk more. My job is mostly sedentary, and I rarely even have to get up. I’m so glad that it’s warming up outside. I can’t wait to get out there!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…I’ve Got Spring Fever, Do You?My Profile

  5. Love this, Liz. I am working on improving my health as we improve our finances as well. I gained a whopping 30 pounds after we moved to the farm. Yikes!! It’s going well so far though. There’s something about doing both at the same time that’s motivating me. And I totally agree with what you said about being overly critical of yourself. I fall into that trap, too. Now I’m just trying to congratulate myself for every good decision.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmert recently posted…How to Pay off Debt : Beating the Broke MindsetMy Profile

  6. I know what you mean about beating myself up for mistakes I made in the past. But really I should think more about all the great things I’ve been able to do since then.
    Raquel@Practical Cents recently posted…Liebster Award and Other MentionsMy Profile

  7. I think the actions required of getting physically healthy and financially healthy are pretty much the same. Time, determination, and persistence. There isn’t any silver bullet, but the people that take the time to make them a priority are going to be the best off. Right now I’m working on getting some of this winter weight off. Spring can’t get here soon enough.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…clothes don’t equal successMy Profile

  8. Good analogy! I can agree – learning the discipline to save or how to invest doesn’t happen all at once. It takes plenty of time, step by step. But as long as you keep your goals high you’ll get there.
    My Money Design recently posted…Managing Financial Difficulties after a Job LossMy Profile

  9. Definitely the right attitude to have. You can’t change your health or your finances overnight, but you can take small steps towards the end result that you want. My mom did the pedometer thing a few years ago and she really had good results. It make her more aware of her movement (or lack there of) and got her motivated to stay in shape. Some days she’d want in circles around the living room just to get to the right number :-).
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted…But I Was Budgeting So Well…My Profile

  10. I’ve heard (or perhaps read) about walking 10,000 steps too but to this day, I have yet to commit to actually doing it. The plans are there and I know I am not getting any younger and after reading this, I,again, for the nth time, would want to start. Tomorrow!
    Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…3 Simple Ways to Start Making Extra Money NowMy Profile