Getting Started

So perhaps you have started a New Year’s Resolution and odds are if it wasn’t to be healthier it was about money.  Perhaps it was to save more or perhaps it was to spend less, but in the end regardless of what is was, the hardest part is building those initial habits which will ensure your success.

How do you get started?  Well you have to show up.  For me to write each day the biggest hurdle I find is just getting to my screen to start typing.  Once the rhythm of the page gets going the rest becomes easy, I let the words pour out and fully expect the first draft to suck.  It always does, first drafts are utter crap for just about everyone I know.  It’s ok, the point wasn’t to produce the next great novel, but rather just show up.

The same process applies to your spending.  You have to show up and become aware of your habits.  What happens on those days you buy lunch?  Do they always occur when you sleep in?  Could you keep a frozen dinner at work for those days if that occurs at least twice a month?  Then look at your bills, do you really need the house at 22C, could you get away with 20C and using a sweater?  The trick to all of these changes is the awareness, you have to understand what you do and when.  Then you can formulate a plan to tackle them one by one.

I would caution one thing at the start…don’t reach too far too fast.  It’s easier to get started for a while, but let the habit of starting to look at your habits occur first.  If you try to change everything at once you can often hit savings fatigue and blow up all the progress you make (perhaps on buying lunch for all your co-workers, or a new TV or that new coat that you wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get).  You have to take it slow and steady, if you are planning on saving for an early retirement, it isn’t a sprint, but rather a marathon.  You have to find your own rhythm and keep going.

So get started you need to show up and find your rhythm…next time I’ll talk about those god awful distractions.  How about you?  What did you find the hardest part of getting started for a new habit?

3 thoughts on “Getting Started”

  1. Yup, getting started is usually the hardest part. Just getting off the couch and heading to the gym can be more of a mental challenge than the actual workout. Thankfully it has it’s rewards though and you always feel better on the way home.

  2. Tim – For someone starting out investing, do you recommend going to an investment firm like Raymond James or using a service like CIBC Investor Services? I’m thinking about putting some money is ETFs and purchasing some dividend paying stocks. I’ve been saving 60% of my take home pay towards early retirement, but it’s hard to take that first step towards investing since I would be a low-risk investor.

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