At the start of the New Year, my friend and blogger J. Money of Budgets Are Sexy tweeted, “Day #2 of rocking the 7-Minute Scientific Workout! Who wants to join me right now?”
It so happened that I had just done the 7-minute workout for the second day in a row, too, because I had resolved to exercise regularly (and, really, all I have time for is seven minutes). So I tweeted back that I was on day two.
Then J. Money started tweeting every time he did the workout – so I felt motivated to keep up. By day four, I suggested that we make it an official challenge. “You’re on,” he tweeted.
I hate exercising. But this challenge I have going with J. Money is motivating me to do the 7-minute workout every weekday (we take breaks on the weekend). Of course, I don’t like losing. But it’s the accountability more than anything that’s helping me stick to a goal of exercising daily.
For some, motivating themselves to stick to a financial goal – such as paying down debt or spending less and saving more – can be just as difficult as it is for me to motivate myself to exercise. That’s when a little competition can help.
Competition Creates Accountability
When I recently interviewed Lauren Brouhard, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity Investments, for an article about financial resolutions, she told me that there’s a certain power in creating a goal. “There’s even more power when you discuss that goal with someone else,” she said.
That’s because you’re accountable to someone else. If you’re the only one who knows about your goals, it’s easy to blow them off. But if someone is keeping tabs on your progress, you’ll feel the pressure to stay on track. So if you take it a step further by turning a money goal into a competition with someone else, you have to be accountable to keep “score.”
For example, if you have debt you’re trying to pay off quickly and know a friend who is in a similar position, you could challenge him to see who could pay off a certain amount – say $1,000 – fastest. Or if you and your spouse are trying to save money, you could see who can go the longest without spending money on nonessential purchases. Then you’ll have to keep tabs on each others progress.
Competition Creates Motivation
I know exercising is good for me, but that’s not always enough motivation to get me to do it. But there’s no way I’m going to let J. Money log more days doing the 7-minute workout than me. I’m not going to lose this challenge.
For some of us, the push we need to reach money goals is beating someone else. On those days or weeks when you’re tempted to veer off the track to your goal, you’ll be motivated to keep going so that you don’t have to admit defeat.
So I challenge you to create a competition of your own to help you reach a money goal.