5 Lessons Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Healthy Living


Many of you may be familiar with Dave Ramsey.

I’m a fan of his work, and I’ve found that his underlying financial perspectives are true for other areas of your life — most specifically — getting out of poor health and into a rich life of sustainable, vibrant health.

Here are the 5 core lessons on financial peace that Dave Ramsey teaches, which have clear correlations to healthy living, as well.

1. Debt is Slavery

Dave often says that living in financial debt is like slavery. Every minute you work, that money earned is not your own, you’ve already sold it off.

Many moms I work with have the distinct experience of energy debt: the feeling of being drained, exhausted, and depleted throughout their day. They become addicted to energy crutches like too much caffeine or sugar just to get through the day. And these “crutches” actually keep us in a constant state of exhaustion and overwhelm because we are not tapping into true and sustainable sources of energy.

They are like the quick fixes (akin to credit cards) that give us an illusion that we are getting by, but in fact, just under the surface, we are falling farther and farther into poor health. Establishing healthy and natural sources of energy is a primary foundation of healthy, vibrant living.

2. Lasting, Permanent Change Takes Time

When you are interested in a monumental, sustainable shift in your lifestyle (whether it is getting out of debt or experiencing whole-person vital health), the truth is that change takes time. Dave encourages making and keeping a budget, which takes a few months of testing things out, tweaking, and refining until a working system is in place that can begin to run smoothly.

And it’s the same with establishing wellness systems in your life. Eating healthy foods, caring for your emotional and mental health, nourishing your spiritual needs, and tending to your self-care needs must be part of a plan that works within the life you live. And that wellness plan needs to go through a period of experimenting, testing, refining, and tweaking too. One size does not fit all.

If you want true health with freedom from the yo-yo dieting experience, you’ll have to take the time to come to know your unique needs, read the language of your own body, and creatively put that information into concrete and practical strategies that work in the life you lead right now.

3. You Are the Captain of the Ship

Dave makes it clear you must tell your money what to do in order for your money to work for you.

Likewise, in order to make your health and well-being a priority, you’ll have to get used to telling your time what to do.

Trying to “fit in” aspects of health living is just not realistic in most of our lives. We may have good intentions, but it is essential to establish a clear plan for when and how we will do the things that we need in order to stay well.

From the start of your week or day, telling your time what to do, means you won’t be wasting time…which of course shouldn’t be confused with simply having downtime. In fact, I’ve found that scheduling in proper downtime helps me actually take it and benefit from it, without the sense that time is just slipping by while I’m still left feeling frazzled and scattered.

4. Go for Early Successes

Part of Dave’s program is to hit your debt with a snowball effect and to start chipping away at the smallest debt you have so you can experience initial success and keep your motivation going. I’ve found the same is true for our health.

When we feel our long-term health goals are too lofty and daunting, then it is hard to keep motivated. But establishing smaller, short-term goals so you can feel the rush of accomplishment and success is essential to staying steadily on the path you want to be on.

It’s a basic principle I come back to that small, simple, and consistent steps in the right direction yield huge, powerful rewards. The magic-bullet claims and quick-fixes only serve as distractions that ultimately keep you stuck in the same place over time.

5. Common sense is the new sexy.

The principles of handling your money well, that Dave shares, are really time tested, traditional principles.

Steady and responsible movement toward real change is the fastest path to producing major rewards and reaching your goals.

Though the common sense banner doesn’t feel as sexy amidst all the glitz and buzz we are flooded with daily…I tend to think what is really sexy is great results that last and make a huge impact in your life.