Stick With the Plan Man!

An interesting occurence happened to me yesterday. A had an epiphany of sorts. A grand idea that was a simple reminder about why we fail to accomplish our goals. Why we fall off track. Why we are left scratching our heads because we just ended back up where we started. 

What could cause this to happen?

A lack of results!

This concept is found and applied everywhere. Readers of this blog are probably familiar with Dave Ramsey’s steps to financial freedom in his total money makeover book. In it, he suggests paying off your lowest balance debt first because it will give you some satisfaction of accomplishment. 

Many other financial advisors recommend paying off your highest percentage debts first. Although what happens when your highest percentage debt is also one of your highest balances? A year goes by and you feel like you have barely put a dent in it. The tendancy to give up at that point is pretty high!

My chance occurence happened when I was talking to my best friend about remodeling and fixing things up around our house. We have very different philosophies about things and have disagreements on a fairly regular basis, but I think it helps give us a balanced approach to the whole remodeling process.

In any case, we have a master list of things that need to be done. Currently we have stalled a bit on a bathroom remodel we are doing. Because of this my friend starts looking at other things he can do around the house. What happens? He decides to do a minor landscaping project that isn’t on the master list.

This of course creates a discussion between us about priorities and what REALLY needs done. At this point I should inform you that this is a rental property we are working on. Any landlord or business person knows that you want to minimize your investment while maximing your return. Sometimes the choice is easy and sometimes it is a fine line you walk, but its always a decision to be made.

So we argued over curb appeal, how much lower maintanence the house would be with this project, etc, etc. Until finally my friend said he is tired of things not getting done around here and if he doesn’t see results he is going to get off the plan.

Bam! Finally we get to the real issue at hand!

Yes, curb appeal and lower maintanence are nice, but the time and money could be applied to other projects better. (At least in my mind). No, the real issue at hand is that we need to see results. We need to see progress. We need to see something happening!

You can take this and apply it to any area of your life…

Weight loss?

Don’t weigh yourself everyday. Weigh yourself once a week or every other week. You will see results that way. If you weigh yourself daily you may not notice the pounds you are losing as much and may give up.

Debt payment?

Like we talked about. Think about paying your lowest balance first. Then use the money you were using to pay off that debt to pay a higher chunk on your next lowest debt balance. It is a simple yet powerful concept.

Learning and school?

We go years before we see the results of our schooling. And we forget a lot of it. Think of ways to apply your learning sooner. Get a part-time job or volunteer in your field if you are in college. You will be way ahead of the pack when you graduate. Even if you aren’t in school, keep finding ways to improve in your job and see new and better results. It will help keep your job feeling fresh and keep giving you that sense of accomplishment.

Some people might say that some people aren’t “results-oriented” people. I say we all are, it just matters to what degree we are…

So if you are about to give up on something, take a minute to find out why. The answer may be that you just haven’t seen much if any results for awhile. Then think about ways you can see some small results today.

10 thoughts on “Stick With the Plan Man!”

  1. Getting results is everything for sure, and results for sure keeps us motivated and going. Great idea on paying off the smaller debts first, instead of the big one first.

  2. Hi!

    People will often give up prematurely when they don’t see the results they desire. If they can only realize that everything we do yields a result, and if it isn’t the result we want we adjust/modify our plan and keep going. Persistence is key. 🙂 Thanks for the great article!

    Keith’s last blog post..Be Compelled and Get Propelled!

  3. I can think of two situations that do not fall into the theory of result driven concepts.. at least for me. I quit working in the film business a fews years back, not because I was not working, quite the contrary, but do to the fact that I didn’t like the world I had become a part of.. it was soulless, greedy, contrite, and lonely. The film business, to me, was such a small part of the bigger picture of life. So, I quit, but I was seeing results all the time, bigger pictures, more pay, etc.. I have also stopped writing for my local newspaper… my Editor said my blog was well read, and I should stick with it.. to me, once I found out about my Mom’s brain cancer, I decided it was such a small part of the bigger picture, and I wanted to write about something other than “frugal mom.” Who cares about saving money on a can of tuna? Like is that really what the world is all about? So for me, both projects yielded great results, but I quit them both, because of the bigger picture I wanted to partake in. One can see great results, and still decide to quit… quitting, acutally, might be the better thing in the long run.

    Linda Degus-Barns’s last blog post..SPD MOM: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder…

  4. This is so strange. It seems like every time I stop by here, we are thinking along the same lines! I haven’t had time to stop by for a while so I thought I’d drop by and see what’s going on. I noticed this post and had to click to read more because I just published a post about falling off the wagon….

    I was keeping my eye on the prize. It was stress that got to me. There’s always tomorrow, though!


    Michele’s last blog post..Raw Reality: I Fell Off the 100% Raw Food Wagon

  5. The lack of results is the worst demotivator. It’s not laziness or discouragement of others – when we don’t get measurable effects we soon begin to think that we should try something else.

  6. That strategy about paying off the lower balance debt sounds good. The problem is that most of us would not have the willpower to put that payment amount to the other debt. Having that other debt paid off is like getting a small raise.

    It helps to split up goals into very specific tasks. That way you are always finishing something. You want to avoid the general goals that don’t have specific actions behind them.

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