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Danielle wants to lose weight. She has read articles that say exercising burns calories, so she starts jogging three times a week. It’s tiring, and after a month, she doesn’t lose much weight.

She tries adding some variation to his exercise, trying out many different types of exercise like cycling, swimming, going to the gym, and doing crunches. He even follows workout videos on YouTube.

Alas, another three months pass without much progress.

After a recommendation from Danielle’s colleague, Anne, on cardio and strength training, she looks it up. But she is worried that she won’t get results again. 

And this is the case with most people who embark on an exercise regimen on their own. They don’t get answers to important questions they should be asking first:

1. How much weight do I want to lose? By when?
They just think, “I need to lose weight. Any amount, any time is good! So it’s fine to make slow progress.” But they still get frustrated by the slow progress.

2. Is weight even a good indicator of health?
We know obesity is unhealthy. However, is your weight in a healthy range already?

3. Is exercise alone sufficient? Should diet be considered as well?
Weight loss occurs when you eat less calories than you expend. If Danielle consumes more calories than she expends during exercise, then even if she exercises a lot, she won’t be losing a lot (or any) weight.

4. Is there someone more knowledgeable than me about this to approach for guidance?
In life, if you want to do anything well, it’s more cost-effective to find a good coach. Working with a good personal trainer will help assess Danielle’s lifestyle, including not only exercise, but his nutrition as well. The personal trainer can help her determine how much of what type of exercise needs to be done each week e.g. three hours of cardio, three hours of strength building. Then finally, a personal trainer can select the best exercises to help Danielle. 

Are you like Danielle?
This tip also applies to financial planning. Many people focus on products like how Danielle focuses on exercise, such as which company has the best insurance policies bonuses, and which investment gives the best returns. The right way to do it is actually to first determine what your financial goals are, and how these come about. Are your goals aligned with your beliefs? How do you know?

This article first appeared on Consultwho.sg.

Daniel Tay is the founder of Master Money Management, a holistic financial planning platform for individuals, couples, and families. He is listed on Consultwho.sg – visit us to ask a question anonymously, connect with a financial consultant, or read helpful guides and advice. Like us on Facebook to receive updates on interesting content!