No matter what new endeavor you are undertaking, whether it's starting a business or trying to get out of debt, there's only one way to be immediately successful.
Before I go on, I must clarify.
There are actually two ways to be immediately successful. One if them involves a “lighting strikes twice” stroke of luck that instantly solves your problem or allows you to immediately accomplish your goal. Let's pretend you woke up today and said “I want to get out of debt.” You drive straight to the gas station and immediately purchase a scratch off ticket that nets you $75,000.
Problem solved. You were immediately successful.
But we all know that this never happens, and we shouldn't count on it happening to us.
So why is it important to succeed immediately? I'm not really sure, perhaps it feels good? And failure feels bad.
But what if we could redefine success, and do it in a way that helps us accomplish our goals? Well, good news is: we can. Here's how.
Let's take getting out of debt for an example, since we already have our lottery ticket analogy. The key to being successful immediately is to consider yourself a student for a set period of time. This means giving yourself a reasonable time frame to learn all you can about your goal, test what you learn, experiment, and fail.
Yes, fail. We can be successful while failing.
What this approach does is temper our expectations while still allowing us to be excited. For a personal example, I am trying to learn to make money writing online. I have joined HubPages, and have been publishing articles there for approximately two months. Though my earnings are rather low right now, I know from my research that it can take 6 months to a year to start seeing results. As a STUDENT, I know this. As a student, I can be successful at learning and experimenting. After two months, I am starting to get enough material to see what is working, and what isn't.
This is success.
Though I haven't had a one-dollar day yet, I still feel successful, and this has kept me from abandoning my goal.
So back to getting out of debt. One of the first things I have you do in the Debt Warfare Approach is COMPILE EVERYTHING. This is a one month period to get all your bills, debts, and expenditures into one place. In fact, it may take a few months of tracking and analyzing your spending to identify areas you can trim. By taking the time to be a student and to study, you are being successful.
And we didn't give ourselves any unreasonable expectations that would derail us. If I said our first step was to knock ten percent off our debt in one month, you might have to sell a kidney to accomplish this, and you would FAIL. You would then likely believe your task was too big to tackle, and give up.
But by spending the initial period educating yourself, reading up on debt elimination and family budgeting, you are succeeding. You are still moving forward. This is critical.
Of course there is a downside to this immediate success, which is the inevitable time when you are no longer a student. After a few months, you are officially DOING IT. The training wheels are off. Hopefully your time as a “student” has prepared you and put you on the right path.
My guess is that if you have stuck with your program for a few months, you are likely to continue.
Please continue to visit this site, as it will be a valuable resource in your education. Personal finance is not rocket science, but it is emotional work. It's not hard to understand that you need to spend less than you make, but it is hard to understand why you can't have a new car when your best friend who makes less money than you can.
When you are dealing with things that are mentally difficult and emotionally draining, it's key to have early wins and forward momentum.