A couple weeks ago I sent out an email asking you guys what other blog posts you would want me to write about. This topic was one of the most asked for posts! Which, is completely fine by me because I can totally relate!
I think we all know the feeling of starting out on a new goal. You’re excited, hopeful and ready to work your butt off to get there! Much like running a marathon you start out going strong but then somewhere along the 5th mile you realize you still have a long way to go and you’re legs are already tired.
It’s at that point in running the race, that you can start to feel really hopeless. You see people ahead of you, then people that were behind you running ahead, and all the while your legs feel like they are going to give out at any moment.
It’s in those moments that you might want to quit, throw in the towel, turn around and head towards the nearest place that serves fries (or in the real life financial marathon go drop a hundred on some new clothes). But those moments are actually really important to have because in those moments is when the marathon really starts.
It’s easy in the beginning to stay motivated or work really hard, but it’s difficult in the middle of it to keep that momentum going. But, if you do, those are the moments that make you stronger and able to actually reach the goal.
So, if you feel like you are in one of those moments right now, today I want to tell you a few things that I do in order to psych myself back up and start working even harder towards those goals.
How To Stay Motivated With Your Financial Goals
1. Remember why you started in the first place.
Like I said, it’s pretty easy to set goals in the beginning. You are hopeful, you can see the finish line in your head and what it would be like to reach that goal. You can see yourself debt free, or with the savings amount you want in your bank account. You can feel what it would be like to not worry about every bill being overdue or credit card companies calling you. It’s easy to picture and it’s easy to feel excited and hopeful about it!
But when you are out with your friends and they all can get a coffee to go while you have to pass because you are saving your pennies for that goal it can be hard to remember why you even wanted it.
“Do I really want to never buy a coffee again?”
“It’s only a couple dollars it’s not going to make that big of difference!”
“I don’t want to be the only one left out!”
These thoughts will go through your head and when they do is when you need to remember why you started in the first place. In those moments start visualizing that goal again, the one that gave you hope, the one that made you excited for changes! Sure you want a coffee, but is buying that coffee worth taking away from your goal, even a little bit? The amount isn’t the point, it’s the act of taking money away from your goal instead of adding to it. Remember why you started, and keep going!
2. See the big picture
Similar to remembering my why in those moments when I want to quit, I also take a step back and look at the big picture. Just because you see that I live a minimal lifestyle or am “good with money” doesn’t mean I’m immune to wanting to spend money and ignore my goals at times and splurge.
So when I have those moments of wishing I could just go buy new clothes because I hate what I own, or I want to go fill my home with all the cute decor HomeGoods has to offer I remember to look at the big picture. I literally picture where I’m at right then, (maybe an isle of a store or on Pinterest pretending I could afford to have a house like that) and then zoom out on my whole life in my head. I think about who I am, who I want to be and how I want to live my life and if any other the things I wish I could buy represent that?
The answer is almost always no. I want to live my life differently. I don’t want to work a typical 9-5 job that may give me more money but isn’t where my heart is at and doesn’t allow me the freedom I want. I don’t want to be someone who impulse buys or buys things just to impress others, feel good about myself, or because someone else has it and I want to be like them. I want to be someone who pays off their house early and gets to spend more time with her husband and future kids. Wanting to buy this random small item usually can’t compare to the big picture.
I’d encourage you the next time you are feeling tempted in any way to spend money you shouldn’t be spending, zoom out and think about the big picture of your life and how the thing you want to buy matters to it. (Most likely it doesn’t. ;) )
3. Have checkpoints and someone to celebrate them with you
I believe in having small goals that help you reach your big goals. I think checkpoints are excellent for breaking up the long stretches of time it can take you to reach a big goal. I also think it is really important to celebrate those checkpoints! But sometimes those celebrations can go against the goal itself.
For instance, I’m not really about reaching the end of your no spend month and celebrating by splurging on shoes. It defeats the purpose but more so it just tells your brain two different things. It tells your brain that this goal is really important which is why you finally reached it, but now it’s not that important because you are going to celebrate by doing something that goes against it. No judgement if that is your current method of celebration but for the purpose of this post I don’t encourage it and instead recommend just finding someone to share in the celebration with you!
For instance, one of my husband and I’s checkpoints is getting a good credit score. (We started out our marriage with zero credit!) It’s one of the checkpoint goals which is part of our bigger goal of owning our own house one day. The other day I checked our credit score and it had gone up 15%! My husband and I celebrated but not by going out and taking out a loan because that wouldn’t make sense!
Just having someone to share your excitement with and connect with helps to stay motivated. Not only do you then have someone to hold you accountable if you don’t reach a checkpoint that you should have, but you have someone to jump up and down and tell you how awesome you are when you do.
It doesn’t have to be a significant other, it could be your best friend, your dad, or grandma! The important thing is that it is someone who loves you and believes in what you are doing so their excitement is genuine!
PHEW! This blog post was a long one! I clearly have a lot to say about staying motivated! If you made it through, congrats! I hope that the things I do can give you ideas or help you to stay motivated in your marathon towards those financial goals! I get so excited when you guys email me with your stories and even your struggles because I know there is another side of the story that you can reach if you put the work in and I can’t wait to see you guys get there!
If you have any other questions or ideas about staying motivated feel free to comment or send me an email!
I’m in your corner and cheering you on!