Swim, Bike and Run to Financial Health Part 3

Accountability & Confidence (“The Marathon”) and Celebration (“The Finish”)

If you missed the first two parts of the article, please click here: Part 1 and Part 2

“The Marathon”:  Accountability & Confidence

Having discipline to follow a sound plan for a big, bold goal isn’t easy (or else everyone would do it) . . . How many people drop their New Year’s resolution within a month? Why?  I would venture an educated guess that it has to do with the lack of accountability and personal responsibility.

Habit is a strong word which usually has a negative connotation.  However, if you establish a habit in following your plan to achieve your goal, the probability of achieving that goal skyrockets! 

Tell family, friends, and/or post to your social network platforms your goal and provide updates on your progress to help motivate you.  If you engaged a training partner and/or a coach; or hired a financial planning firm as part of establishing the Plan, they will help hold you accountable.  In turn, you will feel responsible for accomplishing the steps in the plan.  As you build momentum, you will see improvements, leading to increased confidence in your performance (and in your plan).  Eventually, you will build healthy habits (whether in exercising, in saving) and you will not want to stop because it feels great to be physically fit and/or financially healthy.  By the way, you may also experience fear of losing that fitness – that is also a motivator to continue.

Motivation and Tracking – What tools do you have at your disposal to track progress?  Seeing concrete progress is a powerful motivator.  Examples:

  • Triathlon training:
    • My watch and linked app were a key tool in keeping me accountable in my Ironman training.  I wanted to see the runs, bike rides and swims add up on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – along with all the cool analytics like heart rate tracking, VO₂ Max, Aerobic, Anaerobic monitoring, etc.
    • Printed training plan – I loved checking off each workout in my 4-month training plan.  Especially as the days turned to weeks and then months – the more checkmarks I started to see, the more my confidence grew that my goal was going to be realized!
    • Training partner – Even though I considered Mitch my training partner, we probably didn’t do more than 3 workouts together.  However, since we are also neighbors, we frequently saw each other running or biking; and would talk at least a couple times a week to discuss workouts.  Huge motivation and sense of accountability whether I didn’t want to let him down or I was being competitive and didn’t want to have Mitch do a workout that I missed.  
  • Financial planning:
    • Follow your monthly, yearly savings targets by goal (Retirement, Education, other big picture goals).
    • Track progress on each aspect of your plan including Retirement Planning, Investment Planning, Risk Management, Education Planning and Estate Planning.
    • “Meet” with your spouse/significant other (if you are financially tied) on at least an annual basis to review the above and
      • An updated Net Worth Statement
      • Any questions he/she may have
      • Remember to be inclusive as there is a tendency for one partner to be more savvy and/or interested than the other, however both are important to achieving the goal(s).
    • If you hire a financial advisor, that person will help in tracking, providing access to tools, setting up meetings, documenting to-do’s – holding themselves and you accountable for executing the plan.  Being accountable is a strong motivator.

I know that during my Ironman race day, as I struggled in the Marathon and played all kinds of mind games (some rational, some not) to continue to push myself to keep moving forward, three primary motivators dominated my thoughts:

  1. My support group is following my progress on the Ironman app – I can’t let them down
  2. During the second half of the marathon, I started to realize that I was going to accomplish the big, bold goal as long as I didn’t push too hard causing me to pass out.  I broke down the rest of the race into smaller segments with individual targets (flexible based on how I felt) – each mile, each aid station, each hill, each competitor I passed or passed me provided an extra push.
  3. My wife and sons are waiting for me at the finish line, so finish strong!

Discipline, motivation and accountability drive execution, progress and ultimately results!

“The Finish”:  Celebration and Beyond

It’s important to celebrate achieving challenging goals – give yourself some well-deserved credit for your hard work, dedication and sacrifices along the way, especially with big, bold goals.  Also, express gratitude to those that helped you or inspired you along the way and share your celebration with them:

  • My wife, Meredith, was incredible in her support during my training – dealing with my early runs, evening Peloton rides, long Saturday and Sunday outings – and involving friends and family in providing encouragement and support;
  • My sons, Nico and Jake, who were 16 during my training/race day – not sure they even realized it, but they were huge motivators as I was driven to show them that their dad could set and achieve a bold, goal requiring a plan, hard work, dedication, discipline, accountability while overcoming challenges to inspire them to do the same (probably a different goal, but same process).  Btw, Jake and Nico are also big motivators for our financial health goals, as direct beneficiaries but perhaps more importantly to teach them the how;
  • Mitch, my coach and mentor!
  • Friends and family – some thought I was crazy to set this goal, but they all supported me through it.  Special shout out to my riding group, TRCC, as they helped me on long rides and are inspiring with their own discipline and accomplishments.

You may be thinking, what does this have to do with me and my goals . . . . Well, who would be the people you would list above? And why?

What’s next?

When you reach your goal, are you really done? 

Consider and/or plan for the next steps:

You completed an Ironman

  • First, congratulations!
  • What’s next?
    • There is a tendency for a let down after your goal has been met
    • Think of other goals and re-start process from step 1 “Goal Setting”
      • It doesn’t mean you need to bite off doing another Ironman (though I’m about to start training for Ironman Lake Placid 2022)
      • Consider separate run, bike, and/or swim goals
      • Fear of losing your fitness level
        • 3, 4, 5 workouts a week
        • Weight target
      • Join a group – my TRCC guys keep me motivated

You reached your financial Retirement Goal

  • Congratulations, huge milestone accomplished!
  • Consider reaching Retirement as a sub-goal to your overall Financial Health as it is not the end of the road
  • Consider what you will do in Retirement to maintain your sense of meaning and satisfaction – create your retirement life before you start it:
    • Engagement – what activities will you do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?
      • Mental and physical fitness
      • Filling your days with activities that energize you
      • Purpose, fulfillment, goal setting and accomplishments
    • Relationships – how to spend time with others to keep you connected?
      • Once retired, you may lose relationships you had for years
      • Join clubs, shared interest groups
      • Family, friends

Final Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed this article and it helps to motivate you to set and achieve big, bold life changing goals as I know completing an Ironman and Financial Health have been to my life.  I love to talk about both topics, so feel free to reach out to me if you want more information, share your story and/or goals or have any questions.  All the best for 2022 and beyond!About the Author:  Pierre Sorée is a Financial Advisor at Marietta Wealth and completed the Chattanooga Ironman Triathlon in 2019.  For more information, click here:  Pierre’s Info