Theory versus taking action with your finances

Jun 26

I’ve always been good at theory.

But terrible at taking action.

For most of my life, I’d fantasize about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in life, but most of the time I never followed through. I was born like that. As far back as I can remember, I always had a huge amount of resistance starting any project of significance (and finishing Super Mario doesn’t count.)

Even as a child, I wanted to do my homework but I always pushed it off until last minute and usually didn’t get it done in time. My teachers would tell my parents “he’s a smart kid but he needs to apply himself more.”

And this pushing-off-mentality caused a lot of damage in my life — beyond my calculus marks.

My finances suffered because I lived in the world of “intention” and not “action.” I used to dream about being wealthy — but always spent my money on stupid stuff and never saved. I read lots of budgeting articles. But didn’t do anything with that knowledge.

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s would swirl around in my head and I’d tear up thinking about the magic of possibility, of my potential, and how great I could become.

But aspirations weren’t enough. I needed action. I knew that, but the resistance pushing against me was powerful. And after years of not taking action, I started to believe that I wouldn’t be able to achieve much with my life — that I was doomed and wouldn’t amount to anything. And my credit card bills verified that for me.

But one day it hit me.

I realized that my daily actions are what shape my future — that if I wanted to know what my financial future holds, I needed to look no further but at my actions. I knew that I had to stop living in the world of intent and needed to start “doing.”

I was finally ready.

It was tough, but eventually, I took action and became responsible with my finances and my life.

The most important ingredient in budgeting is to know that you can take control of your finances, pay off your debt, and become great at something that seems beyond you.

Never give up on yourself. Never. You can change your financial future — all you have to do is take action today.

About The Author

Hi, I'm Avraham (pronounced Av-Rum.) I'm a reformed spender, financial coach, and the founder of Avraham Byers Financial (I'm better with money than coming up with company names.) In a funny and non-preachy way, I teach people how to take control of their finances without giving up their smoked butterscotch lattes.


  1. Jenny
    June 27, 2018 at 2:18 pm ·

    I really like this article Avraham!

    I’ve also been stuck and not taken action. Thank you for being so open with your struggles.

    • Avraham Byers
      June 27, 2018 at 2:19 pm ·

      Thanks, Jenny. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. A
    June 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm ·

    Thank you for this Avraham. Your story is my story. The difference is I’m still overwhelemed by the very powerful resistance to taking action. Over the years I’ve seen glimmers of possibilities. Of living differently. Without fear. Without debt. Without regret.

    With this prompt from you I’ll try again. Today. God help me.

    In gratitude.


    • Avraham Byers
      June 27, 2018 at 3:29 pm ·

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad it resonated with you.

      One thing I’d like you to ponder on is the “without fear” concept you mentioned.

      Fear always creeps in — no matter how much you try to have positive thoughts. There’s not much you can do about self-messaging that pops in and causes doubt. It always sneaks in and wants you to avoid the tasks you need to take. That’s part of the resistance.

      My Q for you is: How will you move on when you get a fearful thought? What tactics can you employ when your mind tries to self-sabotage your efforts and gives you resistance?

  3. Lisbeth Savard
    June 27, 2018 at 3:50 pm ·

    This is super helpful. I like this personal story

    • Avraham Byers
      June 27, 2018 at 3:54 pm ·

      Thanks Lisbeth. I always love to see your comments. 😉

  4. Cecilia
    June 27, 2018 at 5:04 pm ·

    I like the personal slant and would actually love to hear more and maybe an example of a specific action that we could take today. My action today will be to crawl back and take a look at my budget which I have been ignoring for a few days because I was on vacation (and buying things I hadn’t budgeted for).

    • Avraham Byers
      June 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm ·

      That’s an awesome action, Cecilia! Getting honest takes guts — good for you.

      And thank you for suggesting that I come up with a specific action. That’s a great idea for a post in the near future!

      • Cecilia
        June 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm ·

        Thanks! And thanks for the push. I just finished looking at my budget for about 20 minutes and at least know where I stand now.

        Looking forward to seeing more.

  5. Nicholas Lee
    June 28, 2018 at 6:17 am ·

    Beautiful Avraham. I attend courses, I make notes, I make lists… and sometimes I take action. I don’t really understand why I am so resistant to actually doing what I say/believe I truly want. I know I want it. Truly, with all my heart. But life gets in the way, I procrastinate, I do something else, anything else it seems rather than write that blog, work through my budget, make a simple plan for the next two weeks. The only thing that seems to work is deciding on a course of action and then set aside a specific time to do it. Tony Schwarz talks about this in his book, “The Way We’re Working isn’t Working”. He believes it is to do with the way we manage our energy and suggest taking the Energy Audit at
    Hope that helps.

    • Avraham Byers
      June 29, 2018 at 7:11 pm ·


      Thank you for opening up here. I really appreciate it.

      The Energy Audit is a new concept to me and I can’t wait to learn more.

      Thanks for your awesome comment.

  6. Dani
    July 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm ·

    I’m another that’s an expert at theory, but not so much on the action side. So much so that I built a business around building theories for people, but handing them off to others to actually execute.

    But I haven’t found the trick to making it work in my own life. Though I know there is no trick, just taking one action after another.

    Thank you for sharing this. <3

    • Avraham Byers
      July 2, 2018 at 6:32 pm ·

      You’re welcome Dani!

      I’m reading a book called The Confidence Gap. I think you’d like it. It’s full of great and useful mindfulness tactics that help you get over negative thinking that holds us all back. Even though I’m an action taker, this book has helped me get to another level. I highly recommend it — and it comes in a audio as well.

      • Dani
        July 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm ·

        Thanks for the recommendation! I added it to my library queue!

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