Many of us set ambitious financial goals with the best intentions. You know the drill – budgeting, saving, investing – and then you sway.
You overspend one night, so what the hell? Let's forget the goal for a while. After all, you already slipped up, right? This is the What the Hell Effect.
What the Hell Effect: Defined
The What the Hell Effect is the cycle you feel when you indulge, regret what you've done, and then go back for more. Your irrational behavior originates from feelings bad about yourself for giving in, which motivates you to do something to feel better fast, which leads back to indulging more.
"I ate one cookie, might as well finish the whole jar."
The same devilish thinking applies to financial resolutions – a minor overspend, a missed savings goal, and suddenly, we're questioning the entire budget.
Imagine this: you pledged to save $500 a month, but one month, you splurge on a new gadget, overspend, and only save $300. The What the Hell Effect kicks in, and you find yourself saying, "Well, I messed up this month. I might as well forget the whole savings thing."
It's a common stumbling block that can sabotage our financial progress.
Conquering the What the Hell Effect
Understand that slip-ups happen. Nobody's perfect. Instead of throwing in the towel, give yourself some grace. Learn from it, and get back on track. A single misstep doesn't define your entire financial journey.
Set Realistic Goals
Be honest with yourself when setting financial goals. Setting unattainable targets increases the likelihood of slip-ups. Break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps to make success more achievable.
Create a Safety Net
Build flexibility into your financial plan. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses pop up. Having a safety net ensures that a small deviation won't derail your entire financial resolution.
Related: How to Save Money Fast
Track and Celebrate Progress
Regularly review your financial progress. Celebrate small victories, even if they're not perfect. Recognizing achievements boosts motivation and helps counteract the negative effects of slip-ups.
Share your financial goals with a friend, partner, or family member. Having someone to share the journey with provides accountability and support when facing challenges.
Financial Goals in Our Marriage: Staying on Track
Forgiving yourself for financial derailment is challenging, but forgiving your spouse can be tougher. Plan for your partner to fail. Particularly if your partner is a Spendthrift, when it happens, you can provide the grace needed to prevent one mistake from completely derailing the financial goals in your marriage.
Set realistic goals together. Create a safety net using a joint savings account. Track and celebrate success together. Be a good teammate, embrace imperfections from each other, and celebrate your successes.
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