Doing anything fast usually has limited and temporary success.
All of these promises are pie in the sky. They might get results for some people, but it’s usually the people who sell the programs, not the people who buy them. You know this, of course, but here’s why you get taken advantage of anyway:
You want the easy way out. Unfortunately, things like getting out of debt are hard, and the debt itself is downright unpleasant. Creditors call you asking about their money. Your phone keeps ringing. The letters are even worse. You don’t even open the mail anymore. The pain builds and builds.
Then, just when you think you can’t take it anymore, you hear about a program that promises to get you out of debt in 90 days or your money back. Before you can say, “Suze Orman” you whip out your credit card and order the program.
As soon as the package arrives you rip into it and diligently put the principles to work.
Then, after just two weeks, you get tired of all the hard work. You don’t see the promised “instant results, ” so you put the books aside for a few days. Before you know it, it’s been a month since you last visited the program, and now you’re deeper in debt than ever. You tell yourself that nothing works, so you give up completely. That is of course until the pain builds up again and you repeat the cycle.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Do understand now why you should not try to get out of debt fast, raise your credit score overnight, or lose 10 pounds in 10 days? It’s because you’re impatience sets you up for failure.
You and I are procrastinators at first. We wait until the problem becomes unbearable and then we become impatient, demanding instant solutions. These “solutions” never work and, once we realize that, we become disillusioned and our motivation goes out the window.
Vendors understand our character defects and take advantage of it to the hilt.
They sell us on the “instant results” we want and give us a “money back guarantee.” These companies know we’re motivated by immediacy. They also know that most people never even open the box after they buy something. It just sits on the shelf. The manufacturer has nothing to lose no matter how poorly their products perform for you and me.
I don’t blame people who sell this stuff. Nothing I do or say is going to change them. But we can change ourselves. We want solutions, but are we willing to do the work to get the results? Are you?
A better approach is to break down your ultimate objective down into achievable daily goals. Let me explain.
Let’s say you want to re-make your financial plan. This is a pretty big exercise, and one that I’m in the middle of as we speak.
The first task I had was to create an action list.
Was my spending in line? What did do we spend? Is our spending going in the right direction?
How much do we need to save? Are we doing it? What is the expectation for those savings going forward (given that I have 2 kids in college). Am I going to be able to save more or less over the next several years?
How have our investments performed? Am I over-weighted in any particular area?
Is my trust up to date? Are all the legal documents in order to protect myself and my family?
Do I have enough life insurance? Am I paying too much for it? How about disability? Since I’m self-employed, disability insurance is an especially big deal.
This is just a partial list of questions of course. Also, my experience tells me that once I do a bit of research and answer one question, it’s entirely possible that 4 other questions might pop up. This is not a process you embark upon with the idea of finishing in one sitting.
With so much to do, it was easy to procrastinate. It just seemed like I never had the kind of time I needed to take a big stab at this.
What I did was schedule an hour at a time to work on it. I didn’t give myself a deadline to complete the project. I just cleared my desk at home on a Sunday afternoon and went at it. After I complied the “to do” list, I chipped away at it, one item at a time. And I told myself from the get-go that this was going to take some time.
I needed to get input from lawyers, accountants, and insurance agents. I also had to go over everything with my wife. On top of this, I understood that the process was dynamic, and that I’d probably have to do it again in the near future.
To be completely frank, I’m not done with updating everything but I’m a lot further than I was before I started. Once I let go of the manufactured need to complete this immediately, I actually started making progress – and once I started working on with very focused time. I made headway much faster than I expected.
What have you been putting off? Are you willing to forge ahead despite the fact the you’re not going to get instant results? Can you break your ultimate objective down to daily tasks? Are you willing to let go of quick results?