invest in success

Commit Yourself to Action by Investing in Success

Getting motivated is a challenge, and it often takes more than good intentions to really get going. When we first come up with an idea, our heads are filled with scattered thoughts and a vague plan of action. The problem is that good ideas don’t go anywhere on their own. Without a tangible force behind us nothing happens. Do you work harder when faced with a deadline? We all do because we have no choice but to produce.

So how do we force ourselves into action? A great way is stepping up and putting some hard earned cash on the line. Investing money in a goal does two things. First, it provides you with a valuable resource towards reaching your goal. Second, it gives you something to lose. If you don’t do anything at this point you’re wasting your own money.

I was first exposed to this idea in a post by Violent Acres that explains why the poor have a higher rate of obesity than the rich. V points out that poor people don’t lack the willpower to get in shape, they lack the resources. Only the rich can afford personal trainers, expensive gym memberships, and high priced groceries. With all these resources available it’s hard not to stay in shape.

At first I disagreed. Why can’t someone get a great workout for free by running outside and doing pushups and situps at home? In theory this works, but practice is different. Say you decide not to buy the gym membership and resolve to work out at home. Excuses always turn up. One day the weather is bad so you don’t run. The next day you come home tired, turn on the TV and never get up. Without a monetary investment to lose, there isn’t pressure to perform. By investing in a gym membership, you’re not just buying a place to workout, you’re buying motivation.

In effect, you become your own employer. When someone is hired, an employer pays for office space, a computer, training, etc. If that person doesn’t produce, the employer loses money. That’s why he also pays a supervisor to ensure the employee works hard. If you decide pay a consultant or personal trainer, you hire you own supervisor. By investing money in your goals you become employer and employee.You have something to lose if it fails and everything to gain if it works. It’s harder to be lazy when it means wasting your own money.

This strategy can be applied to any goal. When I decided to create this website, I started writing articles and bought a domain name, but without a significant investment my motivation fluctuated. I nearly abandoned this pipe dream before I put down $200 for a year of hosting. I could have gone month to month, but I knew it would take a year to build traffic. With that money spent up front I was committed. I also had a new resource. Seeing my articles published online was a tangible sign of progress. I also bought a great book on CSS(aff) and a Wacom Tablet(aff) to develop my web design skills and improve the looks of the site. These are all assets that enhance the site and provide reasons to keep working.

Any savvy entrepreneur will tell you that it takes money to make money. If you aren’t willing to spend a nominal sum to further your cause then how committed are you? By all means be frugal, but look at the big picture. Free resources are great but you can’t rely on them alone. What is the worth of a $30 book that helps you make thousands in the long run? Spending on valuable assets that grow your business is the sign of a wise investor.

We’re only human. We have good intentions, but our willpower can fail us. Over time we wear down and need an extra push. Don’t let the fear of wasting money prevent you from investing in your goals. If you know you want something, invest in it financially and mentally. Give yourself a resource and a reason to push yourself. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. One great investment can make up for scores mediocre ones. With hard work you’ll make back the money you spend, but you’ll never be able to get back lost time.

38 Responses to Commit Yourself to Action by Investing in Success

  1. Good tip. I also think that letting everyone and their mother know you’re doing something could be a good way to commit yourself.

    For example, I let everybody know that I’m planning to achieve success with my website… now I kind of have to do this, because knowing my friends, they will mock me mercilessly :-)

  2. John Wesley says:

    Great tip, I totally agree. Now that all my friends read my site I don’t want to disappoint. Now I’m a little upset I didn’t remember that when I was writing. 😉

  3. Josh Bickford says:

    Hey–is that my name in one of those comments I see?

    About your article–fantastic. I’d never thought about how putting money behind something provides motivation. Dead on though! I’ll have to put that into better practice……

  4. Justin Crites says:


    Everyone thinks this post is so amazing so I’m reluctant to point out the obvious flaws, but they do exist, and you claim to be more intelligent than Violent Acres in your advertisement on her site, so… in regards to:

    “Without a monetary investment to lose, there isn’t pressure to perform. By investing in a gym membership, you’re not just buying a place to workout, you’re buying motivation.”

    This is simple irrationality. Really! Thinking like that is irrational. I’ll explain why.

    The underlying reason is the economics principle of a “sunk cost”, which is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. Speaking generally, sunk costs are not relevant to any decisions you make in the future. There, that’s it.

    If you consider your sunk costs in your decisions, you are not acting rationally. When you talking about “losing your investment” in the gym membership, you’re creating a false situation. No investment is lost. Buying a gym membership is *not* an investment in any finance sense of the world — the meaning you’re using is a loose English one.

    Let’s say you buy a ticket for a later movie showing, then go to dinner. After dinner, you no longer want to see the movie. When deciding whether you should still go to the movie, rationally there is no reason to consider the fact that you’ve bought a ticket, or what its price was. You have two options: See the movie (possibly enjoy it) or do something else (possibly enjoy it).

    You should pick whichever option you will enjoy more. If you would enjoy more going home to watch TV, then that’s the rational action.

    No action you take has anything to do with the fact that you’ve already bought a ticket. It’s a sunk cost. The fact that you’ve bought a ticket doesn’t make you like the movie more (or you’re irrational). So when you’re done with dinner and about to watch the movie, you should only watch the movie if you would actually enjoy that the most (and this motivation should have nothing to do with the movie ticket, since you can’t do anything about it).

    Any costs that are “sunk” and cannot be reclaimed are irrelevant to decision making processes. You don’t enjoy an activity more just because you purchased a ticket for it, so if you want to “waste” the ticket by doing something else (i.e., something else is more pleasurable), then something else is the more rational action.

    Buying the ticket **made that option available to you**, it doesn’t make the option more pleasurable.

    Sorry to repeat myself so much, but people so rarely grasp this concept (especially on the Internet) that I thought I’d try to explain it in a variety of ways :)

    Read more about the concept of a sunk cost at

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  6. Ashish Mohta says:

    Just one thing….if you live what you have to can be motivated.

  7. LolitochkaBC says:

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    Принваайтесь пнкоазники ивлабельцы сайта ))))

    ЧТО вы будете делать тэим летиом!?

  8. John Wesley says:

    Hmmm, I don’t know any Russian (is that Russian?), sort of cool though. Thanks for commenting. :)

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  11. R.O. says:

    I also agree that putting the cash down is a good mental trick for self-motivation. I put money down on a gym membership and it helped me continue to go to the gym because I wanted to make the most of my financal investment. I am glad that I invested in a gym membership because it helped me develop a solid work ethic that I can use outside of the gym.

    I have to disagree about rich people being in shape because I have met many rich, wealthy people who are fat, out of shape, and depressed despite being wealthy. Having wealth can help an educated, motivated person with a healthy mind state, but it won’t do anything for everyone else.

    Also, it doesn’t take money to make money because civilization was started from scratch. There wasn’t any money back then, but now we have skyscrapers, businesses, and electronic goods that make it seem like things have changed, but generating wealth is still way more valuable than making paper money. People started religions, countries, and states from scratch and they all generate billions and trillions of dollars each year. Your website is wealth that generates income for you. Without your website, you wouldn’t generate the extra income. When you create and control a system, the paper money comes in.

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  17. Christine says:


    As my back aches from typing, I am staying focused on my dream to get my new Company — Life Unlimited — off the ground, realizing, however, in order to help people get well, I first need to reach people!

    I have put in endless hours and realize it’s become not only a commitment, but a burning passion…this dream of mine….it has something to do with accomplishment, but mostly with a deep desire to help others who felt the way I did when I was so sick with burnout 13 years ago.

    My “trick” to staying motivated involved including enough “associates” in my corporate goal starting out, that, very quickly, Life Unlimited takes on a life of it’s own as they start to “motivate” me since they get excited about a new idea that can help them get more business!

    No one “gets it” quite yet, as we are tailoring our “Live Your Best Life” Programs in order to sell them as seminars and to individuals, of course.

    I believe in what I have created, and since my horrible experience with “total burn out” after starting a large marketing company 13 years ago (was only 30 then), I sold 20 million, achieved my goal…and realized that I had nothing left to show for it but a thin, frail frame and a sick heart, mind and body.

    Building my way to wellness through researching every possible discipline known to man, I returned to the field of marketing to pay the bills and raise my son.

    Some 13 years later, my dream of starting a business with a focus of helping others with “stress disease” and “burnout” is taking form…I have “brought together a team of experts, and with my own studying over the past 13 years, and their imput, we have a fun, dynamic group that is NOT ONLY going to help people LIVE THEIR BEST LIFE but we will have a great time while we’re doing it?

    Best of all, most of our prgrams can be OFFERED BY PHONE to anyone in North America!

    How much more could a person ask for…

    I know nothing about internet markeitng, and I need clients…trying to get on search engines alone is crazy

  18. Kyle says:

    I think the article has a great point about an investment in your goals. This method will keep you focused and motivated to achieve your goals. You have to tie in some type of reward for your progress. You are more likely to follow your journey to the conclusion if you can collect a few rewards along the way.
    To Your Success

  19. hairy says:

    ya rite but some times its not work yaar. Give me some more info

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  21. farouk says:

    this makes alot of sense, you did a great job bringing that site online

  22. Very interesting, thank you from Russia!

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  24. Gabriel says:

    Wow, this article really hit home for me. I have found myself when I put deadline and cost on the line, I do my best work, but when there is nothing on the line, I tend to procrastinate because I have nothing to lose. That willpower is not there without any investment coming from my part.

  25. Bodybuilding Diets says:

    It is good to know that there are several who are taking your advice by heart. But I find that there are still some who suffer the same excuses even if they have a gym membership. They try to say that the weather is bad and that they don’t have time to do it anymore. They end up spending money for a gym membership they are not using. Sad, but true.

  26. Screw9to5man says:

    I’m one of those cheapos who doesn’t like spending money to make money. I never really thought about a gym membership like that.  I still think you can get in shape without a gym membership or expensive equipment, but I guess it depends on how bad the person wants it.  

  27. Screw9to5man says:

    I’m one of those cheapos who doesn’t like spending money to make money. I never really thought about a gym membership like that.  I still think you can get in shape without a gym membership or expensive equipment, but I guess it depends on how bad the person wants it.  

  28. this is so true, whenever you have your own hard earned money on the line you are more inclined to put more effort into the business to make it succeed.

  29. Hi,
    This is a great post… and this is actually a real life situation. Often time, we don’t seem to invest money to achieve our goals. And this keeps us on hold in terms of making progress. Like you pointed out, many free resources can’t just help you to achieve your required goal, there is that limitation. Take WordPress theme for instance, most free theme are ok but not to be compared with premium theme that has all the required features that makes a blog attractive and worthwhile.

    Of course, many would want to get these resources but could be that the budget to is not there. Sometimes, it might be there, but you would want to part with the money – invest to achieve your goal… maybe out of fear that you might not recoup the money invested.

    Above all, it’s important and critical to invest money to achieve your goal, nothing is actually free. Yes, even if you don’t pay for something, you may have spent your time on it, you may have denied yourself sleep on implementation but with less or nothing to show for it. The bottom line, it’s good to make investment to achieve your goal.

    I personally use free WordPress theme for my blog but will have to go for premium theme because, there are many features that are actually not there in free theme which ordinarily I know.

    Are you also having a goal without investing on achieving your goal? I think it’s important to invest on achieving your goal which goes to agree absolutely on what Pick The Brain is saying here.

    However, how about those who in the real sense of it doesn’t have the money to invest or spend to achieve their goal? Could that be the reason why the rich get richer?

  30. I always put my mind in repetition saying, ” I spent $100 on this, so If anything else, I need to get $100 back”

  31. Vdb7855 says:

    Now THIS is a great article. Excellent job on your success, but a big thank you for sharing encouragement to many others.

    When you help people get what the want – whatever that is – WHILE you get what you want in the process, I just can’t get any better, huh?


  32. Psuneel says:

    this article is awesome…

  33. Krnjkks says:

    Excellent article. Thanks for sharing with us

  34. Tyas says:

    i love this article and when I read this, it sounds like thats what usually I do and I do know how to change to be better

  35. Quoc Huynh says:

    You’ll never be able to get back lost time is so true. Understanding how imperative time is changes your perspective on your daily decisions.

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