September 20, 2010

Accounting for Health

For many, fall - even more so than spring - is a time for new beginnings.  Students return to school, work schedules reestablish stability after a summer of vacations and flex time, and exercise routines often begin to wane due to the end of swimsuit season.  We here at bene-fit find that the clients that make it through the "autumn hump" (rather than abandon their summer routines) are often the most successful all year 'round. 

Fall can be an ideal time to take inventory of your health and fitness goals and start "accounting" for your past year and future plans.  Rather than wait for the typical New Year's resolutions, why not get a jump start on some new lifestyle changes now?

When I am trying to establish or return to healthy habits in my own life, I find that basic accounting principles are often an easy and organized way of doing so.  While I am neither an accountant nor a mathematician (!), it can be helpful to put an area of your life (like health) into different terms to look at it more objectively and from a new perspective.

First, consider cost.  What have you invested in your fitness goals over the past few months or weeks?  Have you reaped the bene-fits of those investments (such as losing weight after changing your eating habits), or have you squandered them (for example, by purchasing a gym membership and then not going regularly)?  Make sure that the effort and expenditure you're willing to offer is enough to cover the rewards of your work.

Next, assess full disclosure.  Are you frustrated because you're doing all the right things and not seeing results - or because you really aren't staying honest to your diet or exercise routine and actually cheating yourself?  Because your body, health, and well-being are so intensely personal, you must commit to honesty in your habits and expectations, and make sure that you're not establishing self-destructive patterns while trying to get healthy.

Third, I really like the idea of the going concern principle, which reads: " an entity will continue to exist long enough to carry out its objectives and commitments and will not liquidate in the foreseeable future."  In layman's terms?  Try your best to give your fitness program a long-term commitment and consistent effort for as long as it takes to see the results you want.  Giving up a healthy diet after a week or foregoing your exercise program after your first visit to Spin class doesn't give you a realistic chance to reach your goals.

Finally, try to practice revenue recognition whenever possible - even if there are no viable "profits" to speak of.  For example, even if you haven't lost a pound from your first month of clean eating and regular exercise, consider the "revenue" of increased energy, emotional positivity, and long-term health.  Recognize the fruits of your labor in all forms - more sleep, enhanced quality time with a friend or partner, better-fitting clothes - and don't get so blindsided with a singular goal that you can't appreciate all the other bene-fits of your lifestyle change.

Any time the seasons change, our routines inevitably do as well - so this fall, make sure that your seasonal adjustments include plenty of exercise, a good amount of sound sleep, and a healthy diet (it's pumpkin season, after all - why not try a new autumn-inspired recipe??).  Stay accountable for your health and be sure to find your bene-fit.

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