As you’ve probably realized by now, I get super pumped up about taking on new goals ;) It doesn’t matter if I have ten already going on, or just one – if I come across something that excites me I jump right in. And such was the case last week when I came across this 100 push ups a day one.
Now, maybe I was over confident or maybe I was just being an idiot (don’t answer that), but for whatever reason I thought I could revert back to my teenage years and just rock these pushups out w/out a sweat. After all, I was the king of them back in the day! Unfortunately I was dead wrong this time around… I nailed the first 10 w/out any problem whatsoever, then slowly got out the next 20, but by the time we hit 30, and then 35, I thought my arms were gonna explode and it would be the ultimate end of my blogging career :( What the hell happened to me?? And why did it take me another 1/2 day just to eek out 5 more in the end?
I was in shock. And pretty embarrassed, if you want the truth. I decided to give it a rest for the remaining day and try again in the next morning. But that was even worse. I think I made it to 11 or 12 until my body just gave in and I hit the floor…
Why share all this with you today, and let everyone know I’m a big wussie? Cuz it’s a PERFECT example of how *not* to take on a goal. And you better believe it relates to handling your finances too.
Don’t Go “All In” With Your Goals From The Start
If you’re anything like me, you get super excited about stuff and just want to kill it and start feeling all proud of your self and what not – but don’t fall for it! Take things slow and build up to your goal while your body/wallet gets used to things.
It’s the one major area I failed at myself when handling my money after college. I kept trying to save $100 every paycheck, and would xfer it over into my savings every 2 weeks, but at the end of the month I’d always end up xfering it all back and feeling like a failure! It took me forever to realize that I was biting off more than I could chew, and as soon as I dropped it to $50/mo, I was *winning* every single month. It was awesome. And more importantly, I felt like I was accomplishing something.
Small Steps Add Up!
When I was relaying this push up debacle w/ my brother, he told me I should start as tiny as I could, and then slowly do more every day incrementally. Initially I hated the idea cuz I could do more than 1 pushup a day for sure! (it’s like telling someone to start saving just $1.00!), but the idea of starting from ground up and slowly letting my body get used to it did seem nice. And after 5 days in a row now, I’m proud to say I’ve met every day’s goal so far ;) I do the previous day’s # of pushups, and then add 1 more on top of it. So today I’ll do 6, and then tomorrow I’ll do 7, and then 8, 9, etc. It’s definitely not something to start bragging about anytime soon, but I must admit I’m feeling a helluva lot better then when I was doing 35 and dying. And I guarantee at day #35 I’ll be doing them even easier!
Make Sure To Look Forward to Your Goals!
Not all goals will be crazy exciting, but the more you can get jazzed about something and really be proud of your accomplishments, the more odds you’ll succeed in the end. I would much rather be sitting here telling you I’m nailing a hundred push ups a day, but after that first shot at it all the remaining joy I had was sucked out. I really wanted to give up. Doing a handful a day, though, and slowly getting better and better is a completely different feeling :) Not only is it more exciting, but it’s also DO-ABLE! And the same goes for saving money or cutting out debt every month too.
I know we always talk about how small things add up over time and what not, but it’s totally true. And I think it’s important to remind ourselves of it so we can be proud of our accomplishments and keep striving to get better.
My 401(k) Lesson
I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about this or not, but back when I was like 21 or 22 my dad kept trying to get me to sign up to my company’s 401(k) plan but I kept “forgetting” to do it because I never thought it would amount to anything. And working at Continental Airlines at the time, the only thing I could think of was “Every $25 saved could be a round trip ticket anywhere in the country instead!” I had no concept of long-term savings or retirement, but I eventually gave in and did it and to this day it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
For one thing, I totally forgot about it once it was set up, so it took no effort on my side whatsoever to keep “being good” about it all. It evaded my thoughts for a good 6-8 months until my dad asked me – yet again – if I had done what he had advised of a handful of months earlier. I proudly told him that I had, and when I went to see what was in there I had a good $700-$800 saved up! It was incredible!! And it totally changed my perspective as well. The fact that you could not only KEEP money for so long like that, but that it could also GROW and grow too was a beautiful new concept for me.
I continued this practice of 401(k) investing for the next 8 or 9 years, slowly upping the % when I could, and especially when my employers would match a good chunk, and by the time I went to xfer the money out into IRAs instead (when I went solo), I had over $179,000 in it. WOW. All from incrementally adding in more, and taking advantage of both an excellent investing vehicle and TIME. If there’s anything that can really work in your favor (and even against you, actually) it’s TIME. You set up all those processes and work towards your goals slowly over the years though, and another 10, 20 years from now you’ll be thanking yourself like crazy.
So whatever it is you’re working on these days, remember to be excited about it and keep taking things slowly cuz it def. all adds up. We’ll see how much better I get with my crazy push up goals over here, but regardless you can bet your sweet ass I’ll continue to save! Better to work on it sooner than later too, cuz Lord knows we’re not getting any younger ;) Who’s with me?
(Photo by greggoconnell)