Back in the late 90’s early 2000’s, I delivered financial workshops for two non-profit organizations that provided life-skills training to people in transition. Their clients were people participating in welfare-to-work or incarceration-to-work programs.
It was an eye-opening experience for me on many fronts. And I could go on a rant about the state and federal policies I learned about that are, in my opinion, woefully failing people trying to get back on their feet. But that isn’t the purpose of today’s missive.
Helping people find hope in the “small” is one of the many things doing workshops for the non-profits I referenced above taught me.
Because if you’re starting from almost zero, thinking of large numbers can be daunting. It can foster a defeatist attitude before you even get started. So, to counter this, I’d often remind my students that to save $1,000 in a year, they needed to save $2.74 a day. Breaking it down this way, made the goal seem much more doable.
Now, your financial starting point may be significantly more than $1,000. And the same may be true for your financial goals or the financial component of your non-financial goals. Yet, adopting a “small is the new significant” mindset is still very effective.
Especially since at some point in the journey toward achieving your goals, you’ll likely reach a point where more than what you have is required of you – more effort, more energy, and maybe even more money.
In moments like this, you’ll need to walk the delicate line of keeping the future in sight – but not too much. It’s also when focusing on what’s the very next step you need to take or choice you need to make becomes the fuel to keep the momentum going.
Whether you’re talking about a fiscal goal, starting or growing a business, getting into a relationship, starting a new hobby, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
How do you make each incremental milestone count, and not get ahead of your skis as the saying goes?
Inch by Inch
The word that comes to mind for me is commitment.
Like I said earlier in this series, goals are about ‘what is required of you when you go after your goals.’ And the way I see it, commitment strengthens the bond between you and your goals.
Paula Edgar, Esq., founder of PGE Consulting Group – a firm that provides professional development through the lens of DEI – and I explore the intersection of goals and inner drive during an upcoming More Than Money podcast episode (#116). (Be sure to tune in.)
Yes, I framed today’s piece around the example of $2.74 and making the point that every dollar counts. Yet this isn’t just about money…as per usual.
Because darn near every one of your goals and the experience of achieving them will take you through three key phases – from feeling excited, to feeling overwhelmed, to feeling like “I got this!”
Commitment is not singular; it can show up in a variety of ways and look like any or a combination of the below (in no particular order):
- Pick one: Whether it’s one goal, one day, or one week, focus on one thing for a predetermined amount of time, when overwhelm strikes and you’d benefit from temporarily downshifting.
- Pick another one: Focus on making one choice or taking one action.
- Not discounting a rudimentary choice or action.
- Narrowing your line of sight and focusing your attention on what’s right in front of you…not three four steps ahead.
- Not giving up too quickly.
- Procrastinating less.
- Saying no to what’s not in alignment with your goals – even if that no is simply putting something to the side for a short time.
- (re)Creating rituals to keep you motivated.
- Pacing yourself to your own benchmarks – not to what others are doing.
How has (or is) commitment showing up for you, right now?
Going after your goals will always, in my opinion, boost your self-awareness and emotional intelligence. It will always reveal your degree of determination. It will always put a spotlight on what motivates you and what drains you of energy.
A key reason commitment is your powerful companion in this process is because it helps you to find hope in the small. It teaches you to appreciate each “small,” incremental milestone you’ve hit already.
And to look forward to those small wins that are on the horizon. Just don’t look too far ahead! 🙂