Small Steps Lead to Big Change
Some may say I was a “late bloomer.” I spent my childhood nearly half the size of my friends and peers. I was built small and hardly spent any time working out. Senior year of high school, before football season started, the team did weight testing. I was able to bench press 135 lbs, four times. Tiny and weak.
Fortunately, when I went to Providence College, I roomed with Pat, who became one of my closest friends. Pat spent most of his time in the weight room. Wanting his respect, I would tag along with him to the gym. When you first start lifting weights, you see little improvement. You have the initial surge of motivation where you can time travel ahead and see yourself tone and fit, but then reality sinks in. Pushing myself for my four measly reps of 135 lbs, I’d ask myself, “What’s the point?” I almost gave up dozens of times.
Thankfully, I didn’t quit. Just about every weekday for four years I was in the gym. I started developing good habits that benefited me in the process. There weren’t any tricks to it, just simple actions taken repeatedly that compounded over time.
I realize I didn’t quit because of accountability. In my head, I was accountable to Pat and had to be at the gym. It became hard to make an excuse to skip out.
While nobody is going to mistake me for Mr. Universe, I can proudly say that I feel comfortable and confident in the gym.
I tell this story because I think there are powerful similarities between our financial behaviors and habits.
We time travel ahead and see ourselves in the house of our dreams, perhaps sitting on our boat fishing, or driving up the California coastline in a sports car. Then reality sinks in. We have a lot of work to do if we want to get there. “I’ll never be able to do that. What’s the point?”
The initial growth can feel sluggish and insignificant. I’ve heard people say, “I can only save $25/month, why bother?” Sounds familiar to me in the gym. To avoid the early discouragement like I found in the weight room, acknowledge the seemingly small milestones on the way to your larger goals. Celebrate these wins and the road to big change, and true wealth won’t feel so strenuous.
Find your Pat.
There is someone you know whose opinion matters to you. Inevitably there are times we fall off track. Having someone that holds you accountable, directly or indirectly, is priceless. You won’t be the person that buys the year-long gym membership on January 1st only to stop showing up in February. Confidence and comfort isn’t an overnight path; it is attained through a series of positive actions repeated and built upon over time.