I have a confession, I hate negative feedback. Constructive criticism is awful, and figuring out what you did wrong is a pain. I hated those red marks on my college papers. Receiving feedback goes in the category of stuff I need to do, even if I don’t want to. This category is a big one including brush my teeth, tidy the house, do the dishes, cook, and the list goes on.

When someone starts out a comment with, “You may not like what I have to say, but……”, I know I definitely will not like it!


There’s a mysterious phenomenon, when one does something difficult or scary, and overcomes their hesitation, they feel great and their life improves.

In order to prevail and succeed in life you must be fearless and do that which you avoid.

My dad, one of the most disciplined and successful people I know, had a saying when he was drinking one of his disgusting “health” drinks, “I don’t care how it tastes because it will keep me healthy.”

Practically, there is something that Ramit Sethi mentioned in a talk at the Personal Finance Bloggers Convention (2011) that hammered this point home. He said he measures everything he does to determine if it is working or not. When he sends out an email letter, he compares the success rate to determine if he is improving. Adam, from Man vs. Debt did the same thing.


The only way to determine if you are meeting your goals is to keep track.

Many bloggers write about net worth as a way to hold themselves accountable. Others publish their financial picture, debt, goals, progress etc. and use it as motivation for improvement; Life and My Finances, Debt Sucks Blog, Retire by Forty, PT Money, Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and others.

If you are trying to lose weight, you must step on the scale regularly to check your progress. Want to get rich? There’s no way around keeping track of how much money you have going in and going out. You must monitor your expenses, spending, saving, and investing.

I started writing this article in October, and picked it up again to revise in January. As I put on the finishing touches, I am cringing. I do not like the message. I like positive feedback! As I embark on my Finance Class teaching assignment at a local university, I am well aware that at the end of the class, I will be evaluated. Even though that is my least favorite part of the teaching experience, I am working to make my lectures and activities the absolute best I can- and the expectation of feedback is pushing me to improve.

This article is written both for you and me. Push yourself to do the difficult. Seek out feedback. Focus on the tough “big picture” activities and don’t delude yourself that checking email 20 times per day is really accomplishing anything.

As I write this article, I sent out a Wealth Tips Newsletter (sign up; top right of site) to my subscribers. Aweber makes it really easy to check statistics to see if readers are opening the message and following up by visiting this site for more informaton. But if I don’t use the data they offer, then I’m just being a coward. In order to propel myself forward to reaching my goals, I set up a spreadsheet to analyze my initiatives and determine whether they are growing my readership and subscribers. I know in the long run, I will benefit, in spite of the temporary discomfort.


Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it for all of your personal finance thoughts, activities, and plans.

  1. Challenge yourself to get feedback. Ask someone for their honest opinion. Compare the results with your expectations.
  2. Use the information to improve.

How do you check your progress?

image credit; Karl Horton

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