I have a guest post on how to Save money with a DVD exchange over at Tight Fisted Miser. If you clicked in from over there, welcome to my blog. Please consider subscribing as you will find that we cover many of the same things.

Not made of money had a post on how to jump start your savings with a financial fast. This was a really good idea and I am still wondering why I didn’t think of doing a post like that given my stunning good looks and nice teeth šŸ™‚ Ron (The Wisdom Journal) referred to it as the “crowbar maneuver” (I took the liberty of stealing Ron’s term for the title) whereas I take every chance I get to quote Yoda’sĀ  “Do or do not. There is no try“. Of course this goes against the popular method of setting small goals.

Setting small goals is nice and apparently psychologically proven to be effective.

However, the way that many people go about it is completely wrong. Yet in the real world, trying is never good enough. Upon realizing that change is needed, one should set a large goal. Often this goal is very much beyond one’s current line of thinking. People who are deeply in debt can not imagine what it feels like to have tens of thousands in savings. People who are used to receiving a paycheck can not imagine what it’s like not to have to work to pay the bills. People who are overweight and think of taking the stairs as a form of exercise can not imagine what it’s like to think of a marathon as a piece of cake.

In terms of financial goals, the article suggests not spending any money. Antishay is contemplating the same thing. It sounds outrageous, but if one is trying to jump across a chasm, it makes no sense to focus on first jumping half way across and then on jumping the rest of the way. Aim to jump all the way or don’t jump at all.

But aren’t you setting yourself up for failure one might ask? Remember Yoda. There is no trying. Therefore if you are committed, there is no failure. You will eventually prevail.
Do you want to not having to work for money within the next five years? If so, get rid of the car, move into a 1 bedroom (per adult) apartment, cancel the cable, turn down the thermostat, and stop buying anything that is not food. You’ll be amazed at how much money you actually have. Even slipping a little bit cuts the amount of money in your hands, so have a go. How long can you last without spending anything at all?

If you merely want to get out of debt or if you are fine with working for another 20 years, less drastic measures are required. But if you want financial independence, starting slowly will merely delay the target date.

Do you want to get in shape? Same thing. Revamp your diet completely. Don’t start with the idea of eating healthy once a week or adding a salad to the meal plan. If you do, please don’t wonder why you’re not seeing any results. Start exercising every day. Obviously one can not be expected to perform like a trained athlete right away but one can expect a daily effort. The small goals comes from doing going from 10 to 11 pushups a day and then 12. Not from going from exercising once a week to exercising twice a week and then having a pizza to celebrate.

If you decide to do something, go full force or not at all. I do (I don’t try šŸ˜› ) This is the origin of the “extreme” part of the blog name. A half-assed effort is simply inefficient due to the way that progress can be measured on a S-curve (Pareto Law). In other words a well-executed average plan beats a poorly executed great plan any day. Now one can get great plans from blogs, books, magazines, trainers, coaches, advisors, etc. One can get average plans as well or even poor plans. The most important thing, the execution of the plan, is always up to the individual. It is the execution that shows what one is made off.

Originally posted 2008-02-20 07:34:56.