7 Ways To Stay Motivated With Your Financial Goals
Embarking on any journey that requires change and discipline can be quite difficult to do. At first you start out on fire, filled with anticipation and hope. Until one day a pitfall attempts to thwart and derail your momentum. You need a system in place for when difficulties and hurdles tempt to hinder your progress. Reference this list when your focus begins to dwindle.
If you're like me, unfortunately I can be tempted to think: I do not want to “bother God with minuscule prayers”. You know those prayers you consider to be of lesser importance in the grand scheme of salvation. This is faulty thinking. We have to remember that we can go to God in prayer for our needs, whatever they may be.
Pray for the faith to believe that you will accomplish your goal.
Pray for the grace to work as a team.
Pray for grace to be consistent.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic
A surefire way to lose motivation, is to create a goal that is next to impossible to complete. Just like you wouldn't even attempt to lose 30 pounds in one month or run a full marathon with no training. That would be unsafe, unwise, and unrealistic, right? Use that same logic to create financial goals that although challenging, can be completed.
Rewards & Consequences
Some financial experts recommend deprivation within your financial journey, which means celebration ONLY occurs once a goal is completed. Others suggests you celebrate along the way. I personally recommend celebrating those "small wins", just responsibly and reasonably. Now don't go out and book a trip to Cabo because you’ve paid off a $150 store bill. In conjunction with celebration, you should also consider what happens when you drop the ball in your progress. What happens if you don't complete your goals? Decide which luxury or pleasure gets taken away or reduced in the event you stumble. Just agree as a couple what would rewards and negative reinforcements look like.
Remember Why You Started
Creating a goal is not enough to maintain long-term motivation and guarantee success. But what can help, is to be unapologetically clear with why you started. What is your “so that statement”? Example: We will save $24,000 in 52 weeks so that we will have a healthy cushion to resign comfortably. We will get out of debt so that we have the control to save, spend and give. Have them easily accessible. Create visual reminders and keep them within arms reach.
As a couple it is important to share your plans with someone you trust. Having accountability to someone outside your marriage shall prove to be beneficial and provide the support when you are tempted to quit. Ideally this partner should be encouraging and also firm in order to hold you responsible to your commitments. Decide the frequency of your meetings and your expectations. Think of them as your support system that buffers between your goal and your desire to quit.
Recognize Your Temptations
Set yourself up for success by knowing your temptations and limitations. One of the benefits of self-awareness, is knowing exactly where you fall short. It is so important to recognize areas in your life where discipline has yet to be refined. Does scrolling through Instagram tempt you to whip out your credit card, (that you're trying to pay off), and purchase a new pair of shoes? (that you'll wear once). Then perhaps limit your exposure to certain online viewing. Or if you're like me, maybe you should consider opting out of retail newsletters. The last thing I need to know is when there is a sale when I have goal (and a closet full of clothes unworn anyway).
Now that you know what may tempt you, not it is time to put guardrails in place. Guardrails are defined as a rail that prevents people from falling off or being hit by something. Think ahead as to what could possibly stand in the way of "success" and create a plan, in advance to avoid said obstacle. Maybe that looks like meal planning and food shopping so that you're prepared not to eat out. Or maybe, as a couple, consider sending texts or emails informing everyone of your journey and to expect your absence from cocktails, double-date nights or any events that requires "disposable" money. Get creative and consider more economical ways in the interim.
I wrote this article for you but also for me, as hubs and I embark on our own financial journey. I encourage you to stay the course! Pay the cost to create the financial life, not of your dreams, but of your reality. Don't lose sight of what you hope to accomplish. Lastly, remember that your aggresive sacrifices aren’t forever.
Let me know how you maintain your motivation? Which tip will you implement?