This is a guest post written by Jesse from Personal Finance Firewall.
For those of you that haven’t heard, Brad, a few other bloggers around here, and I joined a weight loss challenge back in May. The challenge was to lose as much weight as possible within a three month time span. The prize was great, and the excitement fueled us. Brad, along with every other member of the five man team, jumped right into the challenge and started pumping iron, playing hockey and hiking up mountainsides..it was and still is an incredible group to be a part of. I have never seen five guys with such drive and passion for life!
While competing in this challenge, I noticed a change in myself. I started to think differently about different things. That isn’t too unusual, as a drastic change in lifestyle will open up a new perspective for anyone. One part of that new perspective that has been on my mind is momentum.
Once you get something moving, like this team, the momentum that group has is immense. It’s a real force and not something you want to stand in front of. Once our weight loss started going, even the little hiccups everyone has when trying to change their habits were of little concern and wouldn’t stop the weight loss count this team was accumulating.
How does that have any relation to what we do here at Enemy of Debt? The correlation between healthy habits directly translates to those habits of the financially healthy and successful, but momentum in particular is very important.
Passion and interest may wane, but momentum needs little to sustain!
Let me explain why momentum is so important. In weight loss, it’s hard to get started. It’s extremely difficult to go from the life of a couch potato to one of a fitness nut or even that of an active father. But once that first step is taken, and the weight starts to come off, it’s surprisingly easy to maintain. That is because, once you start to lose weight, your body starts to feel young, invigorated and mobile. You are able to walk around without getting tired. Soon after, you are able to RUN without getting tired. Once things actually become doable, they become easy.
From there, it’s hard to stop doing these things because it’s no longer difficult. It may even feel natural! I haven’t EVER wanted to run in my life, until now. Why? Because running was difficult, and now it comes naturally! It’s almost as if our bodies were meant to do it… 🙂
Now take a look at financial health. Spending on credit is easy. You swipe the card and forget about it. You make the minimum payments because those are easy and soon enough you are in a mountain of debt. But you have to look at the situation as if you were standing at a crossroads. You simply picked the path of debt and gained momentum in the wrong direction.
Taking that first step..stopping that momentum in the wrong direction.. is the difficult part. Stopping the spending and confronting the problem is difficult. But you will soon realize that once that debt starts to shrink, the act of shrinking that debt in and of itself enables you to spend more money to pay down the debt faster! Momentum is the key!
The fact is, it takes very little to maintain momentum. Once you get started, even paying a few dollars over the minimum balance on your credit cards will start to make a huge difference, but if you maintain the amount of willpower it took to actually get started on that debt, it continues to pick up speed at an amazing rate. It crumbles those debts like nothing else and the little splurges no longer snowball in the wrong direction, but become tiny speed-bumps, easily crushed, for the force with this incredible momentum!
Momentum is what makes programs like the debt snowball so effective. They make getting started easier, and let the momentum of the debt repayment itself crush your obstacles and keep you going.
Have you seen momentum’s effect in your own life?
Image by celso
Jesse Michelsen writes about how emotion, thought and challenge effect personal finance at Personal Finance Firewall.