There once was a thirsty crow that came across a pitcher with very little water left in it. Alas, might as he tried, he could not reach the water at the bottom of the pitcher. A wonderful idea struck the crow and he set out to drop a small pebble one by one into the pitcher until the water at the bottom rose up to the brim. By dropping little stones into the pitcher, the thirsty crow got what he wanted and saved his life.
Moral of the story : Little by little does the trick.
This was one of my favorite stories from Aesop’s Fables. It may have been written once upon a time but the simple lesson still holds true more than ever today.
Setting a big goal can overwhelm you with the amount of work, time, energy and resources required to achieve it. As time passes, frustration may set in and eventually lead to the abandonment of that goal.
Set smaller goals first: Successful people share one thing in common—the superior ability to define their goals and break them up into small bite-sized portions that are easily achieved. To illustrate, if you need to lose 50 pounds, the kind of exercise you need to do everyday and the amount of food you need to cut down can seem like a tall order. Easier said than done!
How it works: The better and realistic approach is to set a short term goal that is achievable, say losing 5 pounds in fourteen days. Ordinarily, a diet that is 500 calories less than your usual daily intake and at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular activity 3 to 4 times a week will let you drop that kind of weight in 2 weeks. Once you experience the short term results, you are motivated and encouraged to go for the next 5 to 10 pounds in the next week or so until your body starts to lose weight much faster with a consistent workout, improved metabolism and healthier diet.
Applied to financial problems: The same holds true for financial goals. Setting aside small amounts of money every month from your regular paycheck and putting it into an investment fund will one day grow into a comfortable nest egg for your retirement years.
Example – Get rid of credit card debt: Getting rid of credit card debt also responds to this approach. Start with the debt with the highest interest rate, settle it first so that you reduce your interest expenses and have extra cash the next month for paying off another debt with the next higher interest cost. I’ve seen ordinary folks deal with similar problems and who are now credit-free after a few years.
It can happen. It only takes discipline, patience and perseverance. Determine your ultimate goal and break it up into small parts. Little by little does the trick!