By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

Not all practice is equal. If you like to golf, going to a driving range and hitting a bucket of balls is practice. It keeps you in a sort of rhythm so you don’t get worse. But it doesn’t necessarily help you improve.

On the other hand, if you do “deliberate practice” (a term coined by peak performance psychologist Anders Ericcson), you wouldn’t just drive some balls — instead, you’d have very specific targets to hit, you might bring a coach to watch your swing, you’d write down what felt different when you had an especially good drive. You’d go further than mindless practice that only maintains the status quo. You’d reach higher.

You can use deliberate practice regardless of your goals. This includes making money, investing money, or saving money.


The key to deliberate practice is doing something different to get better in some area of your life. What could you do differently when it comes to your money?

  • Could you specifically ask to be involved on a work project that isn’t in your everyday job description? Could you ask for feedback afterwards to understand how you could have better contributed?
  • Could you deliberately charge 20% more than you’ve normally been charging for your services, making it easier each time to be paid what you are worth?
  • Could you create a very specific plan to save X number of dollars, instead of giving yourself a pat on the back for random frugality that never gets measured?
  • Could you read more about financial planning and make a plan, or seek a professional planner who can help you set goals and coach you toward reaching them?

Whatever your situation is, if you want it to be better, it doesn’t happen by chance. The more specific your goals, and the more you use deliberate practice to improve your skills, your courage, your resolve, the more likely it is that you are going to get the outcome you want in your financial life.