Monday, November 14, 2016

My 50k savings goal back then and now

I was reading back my previous post on my 50k savings challenge here, and trying to see if there's any difference between then and now. I first started back in 2009, and it had been 7 yrs since. How time flies!

Comparing the difference between 2009 and 2016:

1) Shift in focus between 2009 and 2016

I had a plan on how much to save every month back in 2009 and it was further broken down into weekly goals for savings. That created a lot of stress because I have to watch my expenses like a hawk! While I appreciate the shocking jolt that made me rewire my thoughts and actions to align myself to this goal, I think I would not have done the same way again. This year, I just saved what I could after my expenses, and didn't really keep a tab on how things are going. The idea is that I've already streamlined my behavior after so many years, so things are almost on auto pilot mode now. I know if I hit a certain income level, I will have hit a certain savings level at the end of the year. And because of that certainty, my focus is not on cutting expenses, but more on getting that critical mass of students so that I can hit an income level that will guarantee my savings goal. There's only so much to cut in my expenses, but my income can be unlimited. Well, more or less.

Summary: Shifted focus from cutting expenses to increasing income

2) You can get used to shit

I was complaining back then about working 10 hours in a day and having lessons at 7am and ending at 1130pm latest. It was quite entertaining reading about such things because it must have been quite a shock to me back then to work so hard. Back then, I also have my Sunday off, so it wasn't as bad. Compared to 2016, I think the work load in 2009 is considered a breeze! This year I had 14 hours workday, starting at 7am and ending at 11pm with 1 hr break in total for lunch and dinner. 9 hours on a weekday is quite normal and during peak seasons, 12 hours workday is the norm. I was quite stressed up over work back in 2009 and was generally feeling burnt out and unhappy. But this year in 2016, I was just laughing and enjoying my work (mostly), even though I was working a lot harder and longer. Like a hedonistic treadmill but in reverse, you can get used to shit, and when you do, it's no longer shitty.

Summary: I can take shit and enjoy it too. It's just takes a reframing of the shitty situation.

3) Impossibility made possible

Back then, I don't think I can save 50k. It takes a few years of doing it and stressing over it before my mindset is changed. I think it took about 3-4 yrs before my internal dialogue changed from "I think it's crazy" to "I might be able to do it" to "I think I can do it" to "I did it again". I can't stress how important it is to be able to leap from the impossible to the possible, because it gives a shot of confidence in my ability to go through the entire process of goal setting, planning, execution and review. I could never imagine that now, saving 50k is a norm and not a challenge anymore. That's just crazy.

Summary: Plan something crazy and go do it. The growth to achieve that crazy thing you're aiming for will be the catalyst for many other crazy things you could possibly aim for. If you don't challenge yourself and expand your limits, you'll NEVER grow.