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Incremental Progress

Happy 2018 to each and every one of you!  How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming?


A recent Business Insider article indicated that about 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions for longer than six weeks.  There are a variety of reasons that contribute to this, many of them psychological.  We’re an immediate gratification culture these days, and when we don’t see immediate results, we can become frustrated and abandon our resolutions, even when we’re making headway!


Just like everyone else, I’ve been guilty of this.  I’ve had the idea of a novel in my head for about 25 years, and I’ve made several valiant attempts to commit words to paper, sometimes crafting several hundred pages before eventually getting sidetracked and stopping.  In 2018, I’m planning to use my “incremental progress” philosophy to take another stab at it in my spare time.


Over the last few years, I’ve practiced this philosophy in some areas of work and life, and this year, I plan to do it even more.  Dedicating small, consistent amounts of time to projects and goals is kind of like investing in your 20’s for retirement.  If you focus on the small steps and limited investment of time/money, you can look back after a few weeks or months and recognize that all of it has built into something significant.


It takes patience, though, and shrugging off the cotton-candy like sugar rush of the immediate gratification embodied by fast food, social media, etc.


Philanthropy can be like that as well.  How many of you have Netflix?  Or Hulu?  I’m guessing many of you subscribe to some sort of service like that.  How often do you notice that incremental amount ($7 to $12 per month) on your bank or credit card statements?


Just like investing in your 401k or 403b or subscribing to a streaming entertainment service, these small monthly increments lead to a bigger nest egg or access to 1,000’s of movies and TV shows to binge watch.  It’s a financial example of incremental progress or reward.


Similarly, there’s no reason philanthropy can’t be like that as well.  A person doesn’t have to contribute hundreds or thousands of dollars to make an impact.  An investment of just $15 per month in your community creates an annual investment of $180 to make incremental progress on making our community a better place.


When United Way’s started more than a century ago, incremental investments led to incremental progress which led to revolutionary changes!


As you review your New Year’s resolutions, and aspire to make 2018 your best year, consider what kind of incremental investment you could make in our organization.


Visit us at to see how your incremental investment can lead from incremental progress to extraordinary 180’s right here in McLean County.


Best of luck to all of our readers as they embark on the New Year, and remember “incremental progress!”