Read, sweat, study, repeat.

I’m not much of a fan of this season known as Winter. For the past couple of years, I’ve been feeling the cold far more than usual. This is probably due to the loss of the natural insulation I used to possess; the government doesn’t warn you when they promote making healthy sugar swaps that one downside of shredding a load of body fat is being cold, all the time.

It’s also dark a lot of the time at the moment. The mornings are getting progressively lighter, the evenings are still pitch black by the time I head home after putting in a solid 7 or 8 hours at the coalface.

This cold and dark season doesn’t fill me with much enthusiasm to leave the house. Once I get home from work and have taken the dog out for a brief stroll around the block, spending the rest of the evening in close proximity to the wood burning stove is far more appealing than heading back out into the cold, dark world. Maybe I’m suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I should probably invest in some daylight bulbs. Roll on Springtime.

The trouble is, as Financial Planners, we need to live inspiring and fulfilled lives. At least I believe we do.

A Financial Planner who whiles away his or her time with hours of television viewing offers considerably less value to their clients than one who enriches their life and the lives of others in a variety of ways. What do I mean by this? Here are some examples.

Financial Planners should be avid readers. This is not just a case of keeping abreast of the latest economic and investment news, but current affairs in general and the latest research across a broad range of topics. Interesting people take an interest on the world at large. Some achieve this through travel to exotic lands, others by reading widely. What’s on your bookshelf or Kindle at the moment?

Financial Planners should be fit and healthy. We’re all familiar with the adage a poor Financial Planner is a poor Financial Planner. With Financial Planning increasingly also about achieving goals in life, I suggest that an unfit Financial Planner is an unfit Financial Planner. When was the last time you worked up a sweat?

Financial Planners should also be devoted to lifelong learning. We operate in a rapidly changing and developing marketplace, where technical knowledge acquired last year is probably already out of date. Obtaining the latest professional qualifications and undertaking CPD is essential to remaining a valuable resource to your clients. If it’s been more than a couple of years since you last added to your qualifications toolkit, now would be a good time to order the next suite of study material. When did you last sit an exam?

As hard as it can be to find motivation in these bleak winter months, those hours we spend out of the office are just as important as the hours we spend face-to-face with our clients, or working on their Financial Plans.

Read more, clean up your diet, get regular exercise and keep studying. The Winter is a great time to throw yourself into these activities, even if running on ice covered pavements in the pitch black is merely a step away from a very bad idea.