If you are anything like me, you have probably planned at some point in your life to “get in shape” or drop a few pounds.

You know the basics of how to lose weight: burn more calories than you eat, drink lots of water, avoid junk food.

You figure you should be able to make this happen on your own.

So, you embark on your healthy living plan. You download an app to track your calories, you meticulously watch your food intake, you hit the gym regularly.

At first, you start to see some results. The number on the scale drops a little. It’s working! So you keep at it, eating chicken and broccoli more often than you ever have in your life, alternating between the treadmill, elliptical, and stair master at the gym every day, and dutifully hopping on the scale every few days.

But very soon, the progress plateaus. The numbers drop much more slowly, or not at all. You have lost some weight, and maybe even achieved your first goal, but now what?

What you were doing before doesn’t seem to be working as effectively anymore.

You don’t have time for endless Googling of workout routines and “healthy” recipes. You are tired of counting calories, tired of the endless cardio, and still not totally happy with the way you look and feel.

Gradually, you start eating too much junk food again, and skipping the gym more often than not. You lose motivation. What is the point of all this work when you aren’t even achieving your goals?

I have gone that route.

But doing it on my own has very rarely worked for me long-term.

What has worked for me to stay in shape and continue to hit my own health and fitness goals has been working with a personal trainer.

Working with a financial planner has the same effect on your financial health that working with a personal trainer has on your physical health.

They keep you accountable and motivated, give you a comprehensive plan that considers your current state and your future goals, and tweak the plan based on expert knowledge so you continue to see fantastic results instead of constantly plateauing.

Yes, you could try to tackle your financial goals and retirement planning on your own, with a combination of Google and luck.

But “do it yourself” often turns into “not getting done”. And when you don’t know what you don’t know (because you aren’t an expert with years of education and experience under your belt), you risk missing out on opportunities or exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.

You don’t have to try to be an expert in everything – working with an expert will get you far better results.

So, what exactly can a financial planner do for you?

· Create a plan that addresses big financial decisions around things like retirement, college planning, financial security, and protecting your wealth.

. Coach you through the implications of making certain financial decisions over others. The effects of any given financial decision may have unintended consequences you might now be aware of on your own.

· Provide alternatives and options so you can make informed financial decisions. (What would retiring at 60 look like vs 55? If you invested in ABC over XYZ, what effect would that have on your goal to buy a rental property?)

· Stress test your plan through various scenarios so you feel confident you can meet your goals in a variety of scenarios.

· Invest funds for you and set up investment accounts.

· Find financial vehicles for you like insurance policies or mortgages.

· Tweak your plan as your life changes, to keep you on track to reaching your goals.

Ultimately, working with a financial planner gives you peace of mind, direction, and better results.

Going from the DIY diet yoyo to a sustainable healthy lifestyle requires the guidance of an expert; so does going from scattered budget spreadsheets and arbitrary investing to buying a second property, paying for your child’s post-secondary education, and retiring comfortably.

Book a consult to discuss how working with a financial planner will help you achieve your life goals much more effectively.