Sometimes, we have all the motivation in the world. We’re get fired up about something and we feel energized to tackle a problem and find a solution. We’re enthusiastic about making a change for the better and creating new and improved situations for ourselves. We’re driven to give our all to something and we’re willing to work our tails off to make big things happen.
And then other times.. our fire seems to have gone out. There’s not even so much as a spark to get us going. We feel tired, jaded, and stuck in place.
Financial goals usually require the endurance of a marathon, and if we throw ourselves into a goal like it’s a sprint, that’s when that came-up-short feeling takes over. That’s when we feel like we’re spinning our wheels.
Part of the challenge in meeting a financial goal is understanding that there’s an ebb and flow to your energy levels, and you won’t feel motivated and fired up 100% of the time. Working through the low points is hard, but crucial if you want to reach that distant finish line.
If you’ve been feeling financially stuck lately, here are some things to keep in mind so you can rediscover you motivation and prepare yourself for a long, steady haul to achieving your monetary goals:
Just Do It
Sometimes lack of motivation is really just procrastination in disguise. If you can quickly and easily think of 5 things you could do today to un-stick your wheels and get yourself moving forward again but “just don’t feel like doing it,” you’re procrastinating. Bite the bullet and just do it. Whatever it is, sit down and get it over with. You’ll be back to making progress – and you’ll feel a lot better when even one of your tasks is behind you.
Take a Break When You Need It
If you got financially stuck somewhere and stopped taking action to reach your goals, pause for a moment and consider: why? Why did you stop taking the steps you needed to achieve what you set out to do? If you’re just tired, that’s okay. We all need a bit of a break from thinking about dollar signs and net worth day in and day out. Take a few days to do something else. Start up a small and simple DIY home improvement that you’ll enjoy completing or get creative and do something crafty with an art project. Revisit a hobby before “saving” or “earning more” became your hobby!
Ask for Help
On the other hand, if you ask yourself why you stopped taking action and the answer is something along the lines of, “I got confused and don’t know where to go from here,” then ask for help. Reach out to a friend or browse through the personal finance blogosphere for answers. Turn to your connections and contact someone who might have already reached a similar goal to see what kind of tips they might have, or advice for moving forward. There’s nothing wrong in asking for help if you need it. It’s when you don’t admit when you don’t know something that you’ve run into a real problem.
Save Something for the End
If you’re paying off debt or saving for early retirement or financial independence, chances are it might take you more than a month to reach your goals. Most financial goals are long-term endeavors, and it’s hard to be patient with yourself as you work toward them. But remember, you’re running a marathon and not taking off for a 100 meter sprint. You might be super enthusiastic at the beginning – but don’t exhaust yourself right at the start. Remember to save something for the end.
What does this mean? Let me give you an example. If you’re trying to get your budget in order and you’re really determined to make it happen, that’s great, but you can’t change everything in one fell swoop. Cutting the kind of spending you’re used to and forcing yourself to suddenly live on a new, restricted budget is going to make you feel deprived. That’s not to say you can’t cut everything all at once, but your chances of sustained, long-term success are greater if you slowly transition to the ultimate mark you want to be at.
Are you feeling financially stuck? What has you spinning your wheels – or are you still trying to figure out how you got stuck in the first place? Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help!