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By: Sam Instone

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October 10th, 2018

How to stay a motivated investor: A scientific guide

Financial Planning | Financial Education | Investment

What has Goldilocks got to do with motivation?

(No, this is not the opening line to a joke)

In fact, it’s an interesting theory linking degree of difficulty to motivation.

Want to know more?

Motivation is a fickle thing.

You’re either energised and ready to conquer your goals.

Or listless, waiting for inspiration to hit.

There’s often no middle ground.

Consistent motivation seems an impossible struggle.

So how do we achieve it?

First, a quick look at what motivation is and how it works

Scientists define it as your general willingness to do something.

It’s a set of psychological forces compelling you to take action.

Steven Pressfield, author of the book The War of Art, says:

“At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”

In other words: at some point it’s easier to change than stay the same.

It’s easier to go to the gym and feel insecure, than to sit still and be miserable on the couch.

It’s easier to cut down on your expenses than feel the burden of credit card debt.

What can we do to feel motivated on a consistent basis?

Most people don’t realise that motivation comes after starting a new behaviour.

Not before.

It doesn’t happen as a result of watching a TED Talk.

Or reading a book by a celebrity life coach.

These may leave you feeling inspired and excited…

But rarely do they incite action.

On the other hand, application…

(Making something new a habit)

Will influence you more than someone else’s success.

After all, how effective are Tony Robbins’ teachings if you’re not putting them into action?

Tony Robbins

Or the wisdom of Buffett if you’re not applying it to your own investment strategy?

That’s not to say you won’t feel motivated by other people’s ideas.

But don’t forget the power your actions have to bring about change.

Start with why

Motivation often starts with the ‘why’.

Why are you investing in the first place?

Why are you going to work every day?

For an investor, your ‘why’ could be:

  • To give your children the best education
  • To enjoy a well-deserved retirement
  • To leave a legacy for your family

The ‘why’ should keep you motivated and invested for the long run.

The driver behind all your financial decisions and behaviours...

Keeping your eye on the prize even when the road ahead becomes a little bumpy.

Keeping your eye on the prize even when the road ahead becomes a little bumpy.

Applying the Goldilocks Rule to motivation

Imagine you’re playing tennis against a four-year-old.

It will be easy, and you’ll quickly become bored.

Or, the opposite – you play against Roger Federer.

The match will be too difficult, and you’ll become demotivated.

However, if you’re playing with an equal…

Losing a few games and winning some…

The excitement will keep you going.

The challenge is within your limits.

It’s manageable.

The Goldilocks ‘just right’ degree of difficulty.

Much like investing, financial commitments that are too difficult to manage will likely fail.

And demotivate you.

A financial plan needs to be unique to you.

Your needs as an investor.

Your individual risk adversity.

What happens when motivation fades

Inevitably, you’ll have periods of peak motivation.

And moments when it wanes.

Here are some helpful suggestions to see you through challenging times:

Always remember your ‘why’

Your goal should drive you and get you back on track. Investing is a long-term commitment – success will be yours if you stay the course.

Inconvenience is temporary

Investing might require a few sacrifices. Don’t let this sway you as the more you save today, the more the power of compounding works in your favour.

You’ll never regret the feeling of accomplishment

When the day comes – your retirement, children going to college or finally buying your dream home – it will all be worth it. The feeling of accomplishment will be the best feeling in the world.

Be realistic

Just like life, investing has its inevitable ups and downs. The market will be good one day and bad the next. The secret is to persevere through the storms – a diversified financial plan will help with that.

Seek the advice of a financial expert

If you’re having any doubts or thinking of making any big decisions, get a second opinion. The insights, guidance and support will be invaluable.

Book a FREE X-Ray Review™ with us. We’ll see if your financial plan is set up to motivate you. And if not, we’ll reveal where the areas of opportunity lie for you to get better results –

Request your free X-Ray Report

About Sam Instone

Sam Instone, Director at AES International, is passionate about positive change and ensuring international investors get better results.

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