Depending on the study you read, by about mid-Feb, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. That’s right about now. Those resolutions we made a few weeks ago were well-intentioned, but sometimes it gets big and we don’t have a clear way forward.
I keep coming back to a lesson I got a decade or so ago from my father in law, wise man. After a long, hard day of fencing and not much progress, I asked how far we had to go. The answer was “not far mate. Down the hill, up and over the next one”. Whether that distance was measured in days or kilometres it was a long, long way. I asked if he found it daunting. His answer was, “mate, it’s like eating an elephant – one bite at a time”. The same holds for goals, with a slight variation perhaps. The most common goals I hear are around debt reduction or savings. We focus on the end number, but sometimes forget that it’s a big piece of work. Something I’ve found that works beautifully is to break that big goal into smaller pieces.
I want to pay my mortgage off or reach $X in savings in 10 years is good.
Breaking it down into smaller pieces is better.
Physically write down how much you’ll pay off or save and by when.
To get to the 10-year goal, I need to make repayments/savings of $X per month starting now. To check in on progress, break it down again.
The beauty of breaking it down into little steps is that it’s easier.
All I have to do for the next 3 months is 1, 2, 3 and it’s achievable. Those little wins provide the sugar hit to keep going for the next 3 months.
The power of those small individual wins is incredible. Not only do they build on each other, but they cement great money habits.