I am a sucker for lists. Mostly I love lists because they make me feel like I am moving forward. I want to feel progress at all times. So anything that is titled, “Ten Things to Make 2015 the Best Year Ever” or, “Five Steps to Younger Looking Skin” grab my attention. As if simply checking off the items on those lists will ensure success, youth, beauty, great relationships, etc.

Naturally I was drawn to the book, “9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud. This book lists the nine common themes of successful people Dr. Cloud has seen in his research as a therapist. In his list of nine things you simply must do, one of them has particularly stuck with me: Principle #5 — “Act Like an Ant.”

If you had the time to sit and watch ants work, you would find anthills are built by each ant carrying one grain of sand, one step at a time, one day at a time, over and over again. The job of building an anthill by one ant could be viewed as overwhelming. An ant could easily think as I do before taking on a big project: This is too hard; why even start? I don’t have the skills, the time, or the money, and it will take forever.

As a financial planner, I see many people who do not feel they have any money to save for their future goals. In living like an ant, you just take a little, whatever you can, and do it consistently over and over and over, allowing compound interest to be your new best friend.

As Andy Stanley stated in a recent talk, time is your most valuable asset. He said, “Small deposits over time in key areas of life make all the difference. In the areas that matter most, you cannot make up for misspent time.“ This Principle, act like an ant, can apply to many things in life. You cannot start to eat right and exercise at age 75 and expect to have the same healthy body you’d have if you had consistently done it over the course of your life. Spending quality time with a spouse once does not build a strong marriage. Taking one piano lesson will not make you a pianist.

What are your future hopes and dreams? Start today with moving that one grain of sand.

Proverbs 6:6: “Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise!”

Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Financial Partners, LLC.  (www.KristiLAndersen.com) Securities offered through and Registered Representative of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Some Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial.  Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.