Sometimes in life it’s just a matter of getting started and seeing that a strategy can work. Then, once you achieve that initial success, it can fuel your confidence and help propel you toward success. Quick wins matter!
This applies to money, but I’ll get to that shortly. First, I’ll share some recent family-related examples of this phenomenon of how success with your strategy breeds confidence and more success.
Recently, my Dad had been talking about trying to lose a few pounds. Keeping very busy with some elder care issues, it’s been hectic for him and tough to focus on eating as well as he should. Thus, he got to a point where he seemed to feel like needed to lose some weight.
However, it wasn’t easy. Furthermore, it seemed tough for him to get started and really follow through.
Then, he came up with a plan. The idea was apparently to significantly cut out processed carbs, and also to minimize eating food outside the home. The latter he wasn’t doing excessively anyway, so I suspect the biggest change in his approach was actually the reduction in processed carbs.
After a few days, he was feeling a little more energetic. Naturally, that would motivate one to continue.
After about a week, he noticed that he had actually lost a couple of pounds.
This got him quite happy, and when he told me about it, I could sense the enthusiasm in his voice. He also seemed to have increased resolve to continue this and focus more on this healthy approach.
Seeing some success with his strategy clearly boosted his confidence, and is leading to even more success!
In my youngest child’s class, they were tasked with trying to read for 15 minutes a day. Accompanying this request was a sheet where parents could record how many minutes their child read. This was set up as a “contest” of sorts, perhaps as a way to add some extra motivation for the kids.
So, this diligent little kid of mine read every day. As he read, and saw that he was continuing to do this without fail, it seemed like it motivated him to read more on occasion. All while not really missing any days, at least from what I recall.
When the timeframe for this contest was up (a month or so if I recall), it turned out that he had read the most cumulative minutes of anyone in his class! There was a small “prize”, as well as the really cool recognition that he “won” the contest. Needless to say, he was happy about it.
Since being recognized for his efforts, it’s fueled his motivation to read even more. Now, instead of being asked to read, he’s asking to read on his own. Additionally, he’s reading for much more than the 15 minutes a day. Yesterday was 55 minutes! Again, all on his own without prodding.
Much like with the prior example, this is another illustration of how seeing some early success with your efforts can boost confidence and get you to reach even greater heights.
So, how does this relate to money?
There are plenty of things we might need to do financially, but just have trouble getting started. But if we just get moving, and stay with our plan for a short period of time, we just might see success that will result in longer-term positive changes.
- Bringing lunch from home instead of eating out for lunch at work
- Saving in a 401(k) plan, or increasing the percentages if you’re already contributing
- Replacing 1 hour of watching TV with 1 hour of networking that could help your career (and boost your income)
- Setting a budget for holiday gifts, instead of just shopping emotionally on whatever you want to buy
You get the idea. Developing a strategy to make a positive change, and sticking with it in the short-term, can often yield tangible results that we can point to with pride. Which, in turn, can become the building blocks for even bigger success through behavioral changes.
So if you’re procrastinating, just get started and stay with it!
My Questions for You
Have you ever noticed that success breeds more success?
When you have you had this happen to you?
Do you have any personal finance ideas along these lines to share with others?