Change doesn’t happen overnight. Circumstance, on the other hand, can turn in an instant. As a result of the current economic downturn, many Utahns have lost jobs. And businesses all over the state have been forced to close doors. It’s a change in circumstance that seemingly happened overnight. But as we work to rebuild, it’s important to measure our successes (both personally and collectively) one small step at a time.
It’s human nature to expect change to happen all at once, but meaningful change, whether societal, behavioral, or economic, is almost always slow and steady. So, instead of thinking big when it comes to rebuilding your personal and financial life, think small. Accomplish one small step at a time. And most importantly, celebrate each individual victory.
Harvard Business Review detailed the importance of tracking and celebrating individual progress in an article titled, “The Power of Small Wins.” The concept is simple: even small wins boost a person’s emotions and motivation. And the more often someone feels a sense of progress, the more likely they are to continue in their course and find success in their endeavors.
One well-known example of leveraging the power of small wins to motivate financial change is the snowball debt reduction method. This method focuses on reducing the smallest debt first, and using the motivation and the money set aside to pay that particular debt as momentum to tackle the next smallest debt until eventually a person is completely debt-free.
This concept can apply to other areas of financial well-being too. Even if your financial goals are the same as they were before the pandemic, there’s always overlap in short-term and long-term goals. But by focusing on shorter distance goals, like reaching a certain savings threshold or living within a monthly budget, you can contribute to larger, long-term financial goals.
Again, use your small victories as motivation. Record your progress, share it with a loved one, put a big green checkmark on your monthly budget and tape it to the fridge. Whatever helps you feel accomplished, do it, and use it as fuel for motivation to start working on your next small goal.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Whether your eventual goal is to rebuild your savings, secure employment, open a business, or get out of debt, your success may hinge on your ability to see the short-term benefits of your big-picture goals. And when you celebrate those small victories, you provide fuel for motivation that helps you take the next step.
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