9th June 2014 –

Remember the Seinfeld  episode when George Costanza determines that every decision he’s ever made in his life was wrong? When he came to the conclusion that his life was the complete opposite of everything he had ever wanted to be.

So what did he do? Chicken salad instead of tuna on toast, asking an attractive woman on a date, drinking tea instead of coffee. Rather than doing the same thing he would normally do, he did the complete opposite.

Did it work for George? Sure it did. A hot date with the attractive woman, not putting up with the idiots at the movies, being cool, calm and collected in situations where mere mortals like us may have let rip with some profanity, a job interview with the NY Yankees. Yeah, ‘Opposite’ George became ‘Successful’ George.

It didn’t last though, George being George. So that’s where this analogy ends.

So what’s this got to do with us? If you’re tired of being in debt, living week to week on the bank overdraft or credit card, seeing the same old daily grind stretching out years in front of you, what are you going to do about it?


“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”  – Albert Einstein


If what you currently do isn’t working, then you need to create strategies for change otherwise the result is just going to be the same, isn’t it?


  1. Change your mind-set. It won’t happen if you don’t apply yourself and actually create the changes that will get you where you want to be.
  2. Get out of debt. Read, learn, absorb. It’s all been done before so find out from those who have previously been there and done that.
  3. Find ways to earn more money. New job, upskill, side-income, sell unwanted goods.
  4. Reduce your expenditure. Ditch the consumeristic spending, find ways to save money every day.
  5. Save and invest wisely. Ask questions from experienced investors. You don’t have to pay an advisor. There’s plenty of great free advice out there. Just make sure you do your homework before making an investment. Lower return, lower risk. Higher return, higher risk.
  6. Develop a habit. Don’t go back to your old wasteful, spendy ways. Become ‘Successful George’.


Before you can start planning your strategies, you need some realistic goals. Becoming a millionaire by 30 if you have no other income other than your $50,000 a year salary is not a realistic goal unless you are prepared to make some significant changes. So if that’s what you really want, what strategy are you going to develop (and implement) to reach that goal?

If retirement aged 45 is your goal, and you’re currently 25, you already know that this can be done but you also know that almost no one achieves it. Why? Because when they were 25, reaching 45 was so far in the future, there’ll be plenty of time to stash enough away to retire on when they finally get there. Wrong!! If you don’t set the long-term goal early, and then follow your plan, by the time 45 comes around, you’ll look back and wonder where all that time went.

I’m not going to go into any detail on goal setting, planning, and strategies as there is so much information covering this in books and on the internet. And written by people far more knowledgeable than me. So get researching.

My goal (there’s that word again) with this article is to sow the seed of change in your life. Work until 65 to keep servicing the debts racked up by a lifetime of wasteful spendiness? Or, avoid becoming a wage-slave, be debt-free, retire early, enjoy a less stressful, enjoyable lifestyle?

As tempting as it may be, don’t go making any quantum changes to your lifestyle in one big leap. That’s when you’re most likely to fail. Remember, how do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time.

Use whatever means to reinforce your new lifestyle that works best for you. Sticky notes stuck to the bathroom mirror, the fridge, and the back of the toilet door perhaps.

And share this new lifestyle choice with your trusted friends as well. Making a public statement is one of the most powerful drivers of change. Once it’s out there, it’s much harder to back out, and who knows, once they see you can do it, some of them may change for the better as well.

What changes have you have made or are planning to make? Did you set goals and stick to them? Tell us about your failures as well as your success stories  We’d love to hear them.


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Thanks for that and have a great day.

14 thoughts on “Sowin’ the seeds of change”

  1. I have found the best method is small incremental changes over time – have not hed success doing big drastic changes at once, they don’t seem to stick

    Publishing goals on a blog is a great way to hold yourself accountable 🙂

    1. Totally agree, AE. Take any big task and look at it in its entirety, it’s gunna look hard. Break it down into chunks and it all seems so easy……well, easier.

      I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers are publishing their goals online. If that’s what it takes to get them done, then do it.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. A very motivational article, and well-written. It takes talent to use George Costanza as the subject of an inspirational message and actually pull it off.

    Mrs. Superhero and I went through some big changes to finish paying off my student loans a couple months ago. The biggest reason for the change, at least for me, was one primary emotion: anger. Enough was enough, and I wanted those loans out of my life and off my financial spreadsheet so badly that I was willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get it done.

    1. Thanks for the kind words FSH. I am a bit of a Seinfeld fan and George would be my favourite character. We all know a ‘George’ don’t we.

      Good work on paying off the student loans. When you’re getting angry about something you can fix, it’s time to make a change.

  3. Great analogy! And so true, thanks for the tips. My trick has been to always write things down, make it visual, and track progress. It helps keep me honest and motivated.

    1. Cheers GS. I think that is one of the keys for successful people is putting their goals out there where they and anyone else can see them.

      Doesn’t really matter whether it’s about getting a promotion, buying a home, or giving up smoking (or writing a book). Once it’s out there, it’s a lot harder to back down.

      Keep being honest and motivated. It’s not a bad thing.

  4. Nice post Martin. I think everyone goes through changes as they learn about personal finance, it was a gradual change for us and changing our habits. Lucky we got onto the FIRE train pretty early 🙂 We went from trying to find value, to frugal, to learning about investing.


    1. Thanks DDU. Yes, it’s certainly an ongoing learning experience. I wish I’d cottoned-on a lot earlier. I’d either be retired earlier or sitting on a much bigger stash. Or both.

  5. I think the easiest change you can make is reducing your spending. Most of us can’t just wake up one day and start making more money. But for every dollar you don’t spend, that’s as good as earning an equal amount (plus you don’t pay taxes on savings like you do on income).

    Start saving and while you’re doing that, look for ways to earn more.

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