thinking big while starting small

September 19th, 2008

Thinking Big While Starting Small

Like many people, I have big dreams.  I aspire to accomplish big things, and I look to the future and picture myself on the other side of whatever obstacle I face.  But in reality, the way to get to that other side can look so daunting and seemingly endless that I feel discouraged before I even begin.  That was how I felt about our finances and our financial situation for a long time.  My reality was all I knew.  Everyone I knew was struggling to get by, and living paycheck to paycheck.  I didn’t know that it was possible for anyone but the wealthiest of people to live a different way.  I couldn’t see the potential that was there because of how far away it seemed.

This is why the concept of snowflaking works so well for me.   Snowflaking takes that big picture you imagine, and breaks it into tiny steps that can be easily accomplished.  Tracking those small steps over time, you get closer and closer to your goal, and as you continue, you pick up momentum.   The goal gets easier to imagine as you move slowly but surely towards it, and make progress that you can track and see for yourself.

Yesterday I made another car loan payment, and now we owe a little bit over $1300 on that car.  The other car is about to hit 200,000 miles and has been completely paid off for a while now.  Ask me 2 years ago, and my goal would be just to keep both cars running long enough to get them both paid off before I had to replace one of them and take on a new car payment.  The goal now?  Keep both cars running until we save enough to pay cash for our next car.  Depending on how soon one of them has to be replaced, we may or may not accomplish that goal.  This time.  But even if we take on another car loan in the future, we’ll still be closer to making the no debt dream a reality than we were before.  Because now we know there is another way.

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10 Responses to “Thinking Big While Starting Small”

  1. Exactly. One of my favorite sayings is one Dave Ramsey uses occasionally… ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

    These little goals give us a sense of accomplishment as well as taking little bites out of the debt elephant. If we take enough bites we will eventually eat the elephant. Consistency is the key.

  2. I love the concept of snowflaking, but usually my small snowflakes have to be worked into the budget for essentials for daily life. Times are tough for those of us living on fixed limited incomes. Each week gas and food prices rise. I am thankful that each month I am able to pay the minimum on the outstanding educational loan I have as well as all my bills and rent.

  3. WhooHoo! Love how you keep at it and how your attitude and goals change/update the closer you get to your goals! The goal is constantly being updated and improved upon with every little snowflake you make – that’s what’s so great about it!

    And for those trying this, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to track your progress in some way. The month to month changes might not inspire you but the 1/2 year to 1/2 year progress will! I used to track mine every Jan (when doing taxes) and July – mid year… I did a new financial statement in my little book each time – and was just amazed always at the progress made! Now, debt free, I only do it once a year, but I still like to see that progress! The reward of seeing your progress inspires more effort into more progress… it snowballs :)

  4. This is exactly what I want to do. I want to pay off our second vehicle and them keep them both until we absolutely need a new vehicle. I would love to be able to save to pay cash for one. I just can’t seem to get my husband on board with this idea. I have to admit, he is kind of in to “SHOW” and an old vehicle with lots of miles just doesn’t cut it for him.

  5. you sound like daniel burnham!
    “make no small plans!!!”
    (he is the dude who designed the plan of chicago after the great war)

  6. Do NOT read this entry to your cars. LOL.

    You should be done with one SL and the car by the end of the year, knock wood. Then you’ll just have the other SL. Wow! Tell your older car to be good until then, at the very soonest. I too am always very conscious about what the next “issue” might be.

  7. Good post.

    How do you eat an elephant? bite by bite and that is exactly what you are advising which is great because this is the mindset I use when I am trying to achieve something big.

    When you are stuck in the daily tasks and routine it can be hard to continue working on your big goals but each little step you take is a step closer to acheving your big goals!

    Well done!


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