How to Treat Health Like a Budget


All too often, individuals treat their health as an all-or-nothing approach. The problem with this approach is that failure is bound to be often, and devastating to progress.

A consistent workout program, as well as healthy eating habits, are crucial to moving forward towards our goals. However, it’s important to recognize that there is no ‘perfect’ plan. Life will happen and there will always be circumstances out of our control.

Everyone will agree that exercise and nutrition are major investments in health. So let’s treat our choices like we would a budget. By setting goals and making intentional choices (including splurges), budgeting our decisions will lead to a more sustainable approach to overall wellbeing. 

Here are 3 ways to treat your health like a budget, and invest in the longevity of your life.

1. Keep Your ‘WHY’ in Perspective

Your ‘why’ should be an intrinsic, driving force behind your decision making. When we budget our money, our big overarching purpose is usually to live comfortably in retirement. While yes, we save for cars and the house of our dreams, it is our ultimate desire to free ourselves from the burdens of debt and the worry of our finances.

While the pursuit of health is often correlated with weight loss and performance goals, keep these in check as short-term focuses. Your ‘why’ should be on the forefront, and concentrated on a deep purpose. This could be a longer life, more time with your kids and grandkids, or the ability to keep doing the active things you love. Keeping this ‘why’ in perspective will help you stay motivated when your initial enthusiasm fades.

2. recognize every positive choice as an investment

There’s a popular money saving technique called the ‘52-Week Money Challenge”. In this challenge, you put aside a dollar amount that correlates to the week of the challenge you are on. In week one, you put $1 aside. Week 2, two more dollars. Week, three, three more dollars for a total of 6 dollars over three weeks.

Seems small, right? But keep this habit going, and you’ll save over $1,378 by the end of the year.

The reason this budgeting method is so successful is because it focuses on the power of small wins.

It’s important to focus on your fitness and nutrition goals the same way.

Treat every positive decision for your health as a small investment, and trust in the dividends that will come. This could be choosing a walk over an hour of Netflix, or opting for grilled nuggets instead of fried.

By changing our mindset and trusting the power of small actions, we are able to celebrate wins on a daily basis, and keep the momentum building over time.

3. make sure splurges are intentional

It isn’t reasonable to budget with the understanding that you are ONLY spending your money on needs instead of wants. Balance is key, and the more intentional we are with our choices the more we can enjoy every splurge we have. 

It’s easier to say ‘no’ to a $200 pair of jeans when you know you are saving for a dream vacation. It’s also easier to say ‘no’ to a day old workroom donut when you know you have a piece of wedding cake waiting for you on the weekend. By ‘saving’ and being intentional with our splurges, we can avoid the regret of choosing things we don’t really love. Plus, our treats can be a successful (and celebrated) part of our plan instead of a step off track that we deem as failure.

The pursuit of health should bring you freedom

When we budget our money, we are usually accepting of the fact that saving needs to occur gradually over time. Yet when it comes to fitness and nutrition, we are critical of ourselves when we can’t make incredible gains immediately.

Make the mindset switch.

Be content with gradual progress, and trust that every small, positive choice is an investment in your future self.

Budgets aren’t about restriction. They’re about prioritizing what matters most.