When I was at the peak of my personal half-assing, I knew I was stuck and couldn’t get out of that circle of self-sabotage, which in everyday life translated to fear of commitment to myself. At the end of 2020, I realised that most of my adult life, I’ve been half-assing.
I was doing things with all my convictions and beliefs and always gave my 100%. But I wasn’t always going all the way. I usually would have stopped somewhere halfway and dropped whatever I was doing (developing an idea, project, draft of the script or the story, you name it, I did that).
Since I promised myself that 2021 would be different, I knew that half-assing wouldn’t cut anymore. With the arrival of 2021, I decided to say ‘yes’ to myself more often and focus on doing projects/carrying on ideas till the end, without dragging my feet or getting cold feet halfway through and shelving everything I was working on, out of anxiety.
Practising saying ‘yes’ as well as committing to myself, which includes becoming financially literate, has been rewarding in many unexpected ways:
- First of all, the more I know about finances and financial independence and eco-minimalism, the less I feel I need to spend money, and the more I look into ways to reduce my carbon footprint. Cutting down on spending on unnecessary items is an excellent way of combatting personal carbon footprint.
- When I finally got home from our summer in Poland, I had this overwhelmingly comfortable feeling of content, knowing that I didn’t need to buy anything, because I already had everything, if not more than I needed.
- My investments are growing, not at lightning speed I would like them to, but my stash and assets are increasing monthly. That, in turn, gives me much less stress and anxiety related to finances.
- The future looks brighter and much more optimistic since I decided to accept myself and my life choices (it’s a hard battle to fight against your nature every step of the way and one I think it’s not easy to win).
- My commitment to myself and saying “yes” more often has definitely given me the confidence I haven’t felt in a long time.
- The circular economy is what the world is moving towards; even if the mainstream media don’t talk about it too much, it’s happening, slowly but surely. The circular economy is on my mind a lot, and I constantly search for ways to re-use items. That need to re-use led me to decide that I’ll only buy items for myself made from recycled materials or which are second-hand. Over the years, I’ve spent enough money on new things, only to have to try to find ways of disposing of them in the most efficient way.
Genuine commitment to what is important to you can be a game-changer. However, to do that successfully, half-assing on all levels must go. It serves no one and only leads to dissatisfaction with life and, in reality, wastes precious time, mostly on things that don’t matter.
Nevertheless, the process of robust and firm commitment doesn’t work linearly and can often be messy. In my case, it took me years of inner growth and development before the outcomes could be felt deeply enough to instigate visible change.
Half-assing always leaves a trail of disappointment behind, which can affect our self-esteem and decision making process, throw us off the track and make us do stupid shit, just because we feel like we don’t have a choice (once stuck in that circle, it might be tough to get out).
To kick half-assing butt when it comes to finances, it’s essential to realise that building an investment portfolio takes time and investing is a long-term process, not one lucky shot. Hence financial education, which allows people to make informed financial decisions, is the key to change. If 20 years ago I had known what I know now, I would have been financially independent by now and able to do what I genuinely want to do.
Many people are terrified of making financial commitments (I was one of them) or even of learning the bare minimum (I was one of them, too) about personal finances. But in reality, no one has to have Warren Buffett’s level of knowledge to start investing, and if you invest smartly and early on in life, you can be sure that the compounding effects will positively re-shape your life.
When I didn’t understand how investing worked, I always believed that I needed to pick one company, buy its shares, and sell them as soon as the prices increased. That felt like a full-time job on its own, a job I didn’t have time or energy for. It took me a long time to understand that selling and buying isn’t necessarily the right way to go about building a life-long portfolio. However, keeping a diverse investment portfolio for a long time is the key. Diversification doesn’t necessarily mean owning personally selected different kinds of assets. It simply means having lots of various companies in your portfolio, so if one company collapses, your whole world doesn’t end with that. This is what Index Funds offer (read JL Collins book or blog to learn more about Index Funds).
For many years, instead of setting aside a certain amount a month to invest, I was constantly daydreaming that ‘this one’ project would turn my finances around. But at the same time, I was never confident or possibly comfortable enough to entirely (go all the way) commit to that one project that could/would/should have turned things around for me. It’s a grown-up thing to do, not to half-ass when it comes to making decisions that impact your life, your dreams, your future, and the future of your children.
Stopping the half-assing sabotage is a process that doesn’t stop overnight and is very individual for everyone. There isn’t a magic blueprint we could all follow, and everyone’s path out will be individual. However, I can undoubtedly say that committing to yourself (not allowing half-assing to take control of your life) makes life more enjoyable, gives hope and helps to see possibilities, instead of a dark tunnel without a light at the end of it.