Your numbers impact every aspect of your life from investments to cognitive abilities to how you look in a bathing suit.

Looking back on last month…

  • How many hours did you invest in working out?
  • What was the return on your investments?
  • How many dollars went under your expense category “restaurants & bars”?
  • What was your net income?
  • How many grams of sugar did you consume daily, on average?
  • How many hours of sleep did you get every night, on average?

The numbers are always right there – plain and simple – attached to every action and every result. We just don’t take the time to look at them. Heck, there are even numbers attached to everything we DON’T do. Spend more than you make for a month and watch the debt number increase. Eat a higher number of calories than you burn for a month and watch the number on the scale rise. We each have a balance we are all striving for to ultimately be the happiest, healthiest people we can be. There are of course numbers associated with this “balance”, but it’s impossible to find it without knowing the numbers associated with where we are RIGHT NOW.

Physical fitness parallels financial fitness

A few years ago, I was introduced to Audible. Audiobooks became one of my key sources of valuable information from that day on, beginning with Thinner Leaner Stronger (if you’re a gent, your book is called Bigger Leaner Stronger). This book taught me the importance of knowing the numbers in what I eat. These food numbers are macronutrients & calories. This book also taught me that classic exercises like the squat, dead lift and military press are all you need to build and maintain an optimal body when combined with the right numbers:

  • 70-80% of one rep max
  • 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise each muscle group once every 4-5 days.

Also, a workout must include a proper warm up and a post-workout stretch to prevent injury and super sore muscles. When it comes to cardio, I usually play a sport like basketball or touch rugby, but Thinner Leaner Stronger taught me why HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio MUST be included in my weekly workout schedule. To find out more about the numbers behind achieving a great body, be sure to connect with Michael Matthews on Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/mikepmatthews

Whether it’s money success, body success or both, you must know your numbers to achieve your goals.

My church led me to my second Audible purchase: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. In just 3 hours and 41 minutes, Dave brought me back to reality through simple, no BS explanations of money dos & don’ts. I was seeing results in the mirror from the knowledge I’d gained from Thinner Leaner Stronger so I applied my new ability to “know my numbers” to my money. I discovered www.mint.com  (insert audio of angels singing) which enabled me to keep an eye on every dollar in & every dollar out.

You probably think the answer to the following question will not be fun. My promise to you is that managing your money is a lot more fun than having your money manage you.

“How do I keep track of every dollar in & every dollar out?”

Dollars are just like grams of fat/carbohydrate/protein. You have to know where you’re at right now before you can get to where you want to be. For me, mastering the simple art of keeping track of my macronutrient & caloric intake proved to me that knowing the numbers works so I repeated the process with my money.

Keeping track of the numbers seems overwhelming at first but I promise you, as long as you set up all of your accounts – assets, debts, bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards – in your very own Mint account, it's simple. The good news is you don’t have to keep track of the numbers forever. You do need to keep track of your numbers until you’ve created the habit of staying within your limits.

When it comes to both our money and our bodies, we must be ready for attacks from dopamine – a brain chemical that distorts our numbers. Dopamine is the brain chemical that yells, “You'll be happier and less stressed once you buy the damn _____ already – whether or not you have o put it on a credit card!” or, “Eat the burger!!! – whether or not you can afford that number of calories!” We lose the battle with dopamine more often when we aren’t sleeping enough, are lacking essential nutrients and are exercising too little. It’s impossible to save money for the future if we’re constantly losing the dopamine battle.

After learning about dopamine from Thinner Leaner Stronger, I decided to do my own research to find out just how much this brain chemical is to blame for people not achieving their goals. It turns out that dopamine is a HUGE threat which we must beat if we want to achieve our goals.

Dopamine isn’t all bad. In fact, it could save your life. If you found yourself in a dangerous situation, this brain chemical would give you the bravery/”ACT NOW” push you need to get yourself or someone else away from danger. That’s why we have this brain chemical in the first place – we used to need it for survival.

Nowadays, we usually don’t have to kill our food with a spear or escape grizzly bears. Today’s threats come in the form of a pair of hot leather boots which get our hearts racing. In order to keep these threats from emptying our bank accounts – or worse – maxing out our credit cards, we have to take deep breaths and convince our brains that fashion is not a life or death situation.

It’s impossible to win the battle against TV & radio ad induced dopamine attacks without knowing WHY we are choosing to SAY NO.

What are your goals? What are you afraid of? There's a great Money Success Book for Moms which can help you identify your goals and fears and what's holding you back. I also may have wrote the book... :)

Knowing your fears is often more effective than knowing your goals when it comes to walking away from temptation. If you'd like some help with this, let me know what you are struggling with.