How to achieve anything (or: How weight loss is like personal finance)

It’s only November, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my friend Rose wrote the best blog post of the year. It’s about how she lost almost 50% of her body weight, down from 277 lbs. Imagine shedding half of yourself!

Before and After

As I read how she did it, I realized that after the background about the weight itself, she wasn’t actually writing about losing weight. Instead, she was providing the perfect template for achieving any difficult goal. Here’s her secret recipe (as I see it):

  1. Keep metrics: you don’t know if you’re getting closer or farther away from your goal unless you identify key metrics. With losing weight, you need to track what you eat and how much you exercise. With personal finance, you need to track how much you make and how much you spend.
  2. Persistance: I’ll let Rose tackle this one in her own words: “I decided early on in this process that there was only one way that I could fail and that was to quit.  I took that option off the table and worked on just putting one foot in front of the other.”
  3. Support from loved ones: if your significant other isn’t on the same page as you with losing weight or meeting financial goals, it’s a non-starter. You need 100% unwavering support of the people in your life.
  4. Advice from a domain expert: tread carefully here, because in both weight loss and personal finance there are many false prophets. You need to find an expert that’s right for you, but since you’re keeping metrics you should know pretty quickly. I’m not ready to call myself an expert yet, but hopefully this blog helps someone out there.

You can google “weight loss” or “personal finance” and get literally millions of tips. I’m sure many of them are very helpful. But if you don’t follow the 4 guidelines above, all the tips in the world won’t get you where you want to be.

Special note to Seattleites: please join Rose, my wife Venessa, and other local food bloggers on Saturday at the U-district farmer’s market for Will Bake For Food, a bake sale with proceeds benefiting The Emergency Feeding Program.

When: Saturday, November 12th, 2011
11am-2pm (or until they run out!)

Where: University Heights Center
5031 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Why: Because everyone needs healthy, nutritious food. The Emergency Feeding Program’s mission is to provide an emergency response to the nutritional needs of people in crisis hunger situations throughout Seattle and King County.

How: Bring your sweet tooth, along with non-perishable food items or a monetary donation. For a list of the items the Emergency Feeding Program needs most, click here (PDF).

Hope to see you there!

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6 thoughts on “How to achieve anything (or: How weight loss is like personal finance)”

  1. Joe I am truly humbled by what you have written about me and my post. Thank you for your kind words. I also really like the way you turned it into a tidy little plan to achieve any goal. I completely agree that weight loss and finance goals can be approached in a similar fashion.

  2. Wow! This is amazing! Joe, I love the way you synthesized the four steps and made this into a generic template for achieving the difficult. Thanks Rose for that awesome quote “…one way that I could fail and that was to quit. ” Really inspiring post!

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