On Continuous Improvement

“It’s simple. You just take something, and then you do something to it. Then you do something else to it. And then something else. Keep this up and pretty soon you’ve got something.”

-Jasper Johns, Twentieth century American artist (who, incidentally, grew up near my hometown)

Continuous improvement is an idea that comes from the business world. After World War II, Japanese manufacturers invited W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer, professor, and management consultant, to their country to help them improve their manufacturing and production processes. Before the war, Japan was synonymous with cheap goods and shoddy craftsmanship. Deming taught leaders that improving the quality of their products would reduce expenses while increasing productivity and market share.

boy in mask--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

In 1982, Deming published a book, Out of the Crisis, outlining his philosophy. “Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.” Continue reading “On Continuous Improvement”

How to Run Your Own Race

“To be beautiful means to be yourself.” 

― Thich Nhat Hanh

About three years ago, I was talking to a friend about training for a half marathon. “I would really love to finally run a sub-two (13.1 miles in under 2 hours),” I told him, “like [our other running friends.] But I’m just so slow!” “You have to run your own race,” he told me.

corn husks--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Life is beautiful.

Those words have stuck with me, probably because I struggle mightily with comparisons. I know, intellectually, that comparing yourself to Continue reading “How to Run Your Own Race”

A Year of Good Habits: Tomorrow’s Top Three

I’m going to spend each month of this year focused on building one new good habit to help our family achieve our goal of location independence, doubling our net worth, and moving abroad in three short years. This month, I’ll be focused on setting tomorrow’s top three goals.

Tomorrows top three--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Some of my top three from a couple of months ago.

Habits are the building blocks of our daily life, and I believe that focusing on replacing any bad or even “meh” financial and daily habits Continue reading “A Year of Good Habits: Tomorrow’s Top Three”

How Do I Get Ahead If I’m Not a Mega Saver or Super Frugal? The Story of How Two Average Joes Got Out of Debt and Got on the Road to Financial Independence: Part I

Ever wonder how you can build financial independence if you’re not a super saver, maybe spend a little too much going out to eat, or like to go on vacation?

grumpy Average Joe--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Just a slightly-grumpy Average Joe at the lake

This is the story of how two Average Joes (or, one average Joe and one average Jane) have created financial security without being big savers, super frugal, or mega income earners (and still go out to eat and take vacations). Continue reading “How Do I Get Ahead If I’m Not a Mega Saver or Super Frugal? The Story of How Two Average Joes Got Out of Debt and Got on the Road to Financial Independence: Part I”

A Year of Good Habits: Make Your Bed Every Day!

What does making your bed have to do with your financial health? Good question!

Organized bedroom a year of good habits--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Organized, bed made, and ready for the day.

Habits are important. Good habits are small behaviors that seem so trivial, yet they can reap profound benefits in your life. Take this blog, for example. I couldn’t find any time during the day to write, so I told myself I would get up each day a little earlier and write for the first half hour or hour. That behavior, multiplied by many days, has created blog posts and content. Continue reading “A Year of Good Habits: Make Your Bed Every Day!”

YNAB Review

 

Easter dressed uo--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Will we budget better if we’re dressed up?!! (Disclaimer: we hardly ever dress like this).

**This year is A Year of Good Habits. Each month, I’ll focus on developing or strengthening one financial habit to better automate that behavior so we can double our net worth in three years and become location independent. In January, I’m focusing on setting and sticking to a budget as the goal. To do that, I started using a new budgeting software Continue reading “YNAB Review”

A Year of Good Habits: Let’s Get Started

Dahlia flower steady efforts good habits-- thethreeyearexperiment.com
Steady efforts over time produce beautiful results.

One of the books that has had the biggest impact on how I think is Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. Using emerging findings from the field of neuroscience, Duhigg explains how habits, good and bad, are formed.  Continue reading “A Year of Good Habits: Let’s Get Started”

January Net Worth Update

January net worth increase -- thethreeyearexperiment.com
Our net worth increase since 2011

Our family’s dream is to move internationally in three years. In order to do that, we’ve set a goal of doubling our net worth by December, 2019. While that amount of money won’t replace our yearly expenses using the 4% rule (yet!—we’re slowly bringing down our spending),  it will give us enough financial security to leave Continue reading “January Net Worth Update”

The 50/50 Budget

50% garden habits budget-- thethreeyearexperiment.com
The garden, 50% in bloom

I have a friend who is amazing in so many ways. She is giving, has co-funded charities that help refugees, and is so excited about life she never stops participating in cool events in our area. She has family who lives internationally so she and her family travel a lot. She is terrified of budgeting. She and I have made Continue reading “The 50/50 Budget”

The Almost Miraculous Benefits of Making Space for Thinking

waling in winter--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
My morning thinking time.

Sara Blakely of Spanx© fame once said in an interview that she spends about 45 minutes each morning driving around the streets of Buckhead, the upscale area in Atlanta where Spanx headquarters are located. Even though she lives really close to her building, she builds in a “fake commute” so that she has time to Continue reading “The Almost Miraculous Benefits of Making Space for Thinking”