The Snowball Effect – Creating Positive Momentum Toward Your Goals

debt snowball momentum

In his book, The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey recommends a process he calls the debt snowball for paying off your bills. He suggests you list all your debts and then pay as much as you can toward the one with the lowest balance first and when it is paid off, move on to the next smallest bill.

Why the lowest balance first? Because, by starting with the smallest bills you build momentum, just like a snowball that grows and builds speed as it goes downhill. It also creates a pattern of success that motivates you to keep going.

My clients will recognize this idea because I often suggest baby steps when their goals or projects feel too big or overwhelming. Each successfully completed baby step builds confidence and makes the bigger goals feel more achievable.

You can use this snowball idea in many areas of your life:

De-cluttering – start with the smallest area, maybe a drawer, and then move on

Eating healthy – implement one small step each week, like eating vegetables with dinner

Flossing – start by flossing just one tooth and then two and so on. Don’t laugh. It really works.

Exercising – begin with a simple goal, like 10 minutes a day and then build on it

Habits – change or build new habits in a series of weekly mini goals

Quitting Smoking – smoke one less cigarette each day

You get the idea.

The question is, where can you use this snowball strategy in YOUR life? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. You can post them in the comments area below.

If you would like the support of an experienced, professional Life Coach in building momentum toward your goals, I would love to talk with you. You can contact me here. 

Related Posts:

The Cost of Postponing Little Things

How to Get Back on Track after Falling Into Inertia

How to Bring Balance to Your Relationship with Time


8 thoughts on “The Snowball Effect – Creating Positive Momentum Toward Your Goals

  1. I think using the snowball effect works well because it’s in keeping with how we got the problem in the first place. I’ve never heard of anyone who gained 100 lbs from one meal or filled an entire closet with one purchase. Flossing just one tooth is hilarious, but if that’s what it takes to start, then so be it.

    It also helps me to change habits by making it as easy as possible to start the new habit. Keeping floss in every purse and bag or in the car makes it easier to actually use it. Keeping my walking shoes, socks and walking clothes by the bed makes it more likely I’ll walk in the morning.

    Thanks for sharing these very valuable tips.

    • Linda Luke says:

      You are right Flora. I almost added a section in this post about watching out for the negative snowballs, like that old commercial that said, “You can never eat just one.” Creating an environment for success, like you are doing with walking and flossing is also a great way to improve the odds of successfully changing habits.

    • Esther Nagle says:

      Have you read ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olsen? He talks about how it is the small things we do every day that make the difference, positive and negative. It’s a great book, I highly recommend it!

  2. shirley corder says:

    I loved this post. You’re so right. Usually we try and tackle the whole elephant instead of starting with a tiny piece! Bad example when we’re trying to cut back on animal poaching, but you get my meaning! Thank you. For me, it’s the need to get four books into print that are going to cost me a lot of money. One small number of the first book would be a good plan! Thankful Thursday #6

  3. Esther Nagle says:

    I love this idea – so much more appealing than the ‘eat the frog’ idea of doing the hardest and worst thing first- that just sends me into an entire day of procrastination and aimlessness as I do anything to avoid the ‘frog’. Small wins can be hugely motivating. I think you’ll like my ‘circle of change’ idea, I’ll link to it in the URL space 🙂

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