5 Ways to Stick With Your Financial Goals
5 Ways to Stick With Your Financial Goals
… Now what?
Now it’s time for the hard part – actually sticking with you goal. Chances are, your new mission has required you to make some pretty big sacrifices in certain areas of your budget. While that can be tough, especially at first, these tips will help you stay on track when your motivation begins to waver and the effort seems like too much.
1. Set a Deadline
Remember how I talked about setting a deadline in the last blog? It’s so important that I’m saying it again (and I’m putting it first on this list).
When creating your action plan, the deadline helps you figure out how much money you will need to be taking out of each paycheck to reach your target in time. When keeping your motivation up, the deadline helps to remind you that this tight budget is only temporary.
If you set a deadline of paying off your student debt within the next five years, use that to remind yourself that the sacrifices you are making means freedom from debt in five years. Soon that five will turn into four and then three, and before you know it you’ll be making your last payment. Having a clear idea of when this budget crunch will be over helps keep you on track because you don’t want to fall behind and start pushing that date farther back.
2. Is It Worth It?
Every time you’re tempted to deviate from your budget and dip into your allotted savings for your financial goal to make an impulse buy, ask yourself, “is this worth it?”
If you’re saving for that Paris trip, but you come home one day exhausted and you just want to order takeout instead of cook, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Would you rather order takeout now, or have that money to spend on some French pastries during your trip?
If you’re using the snowball method to get out of debt and you’re tempted to spend your extra money on a splurge item instead of putting it towards your debt snowball, ask yourself if that splurge item is worth waiting longer for your financial freedom.
Once you start asking yourself this question, it will soon become second nature to stop seeking instant gratification. You know that these sacrifices will be worth it once you hit your goal.
3. Know that You Will Get Off Track
Accept the fact that you’re human and you’re going to make mistakes. You may make a mistake that is easily fixable, or you may do something that sets you behind a few months. It’s not the end of the world. It happens to everyone.
When this happens, you cannot get discouraged:
Instead, sit down with you budget and figure out what you can do to get yourself back on track.
Failure is a part of life. Failure is a good thing, believe it or not. Failure teaches us our most valuable lessons. If you fail, if you set yourself behind schedule, if you get off track from your goal in any way; use it as a learning experience and keep moving forward towards your goal – do not give up.
4. Visualize Your Progress
Remember when you were in Kindergarten and your teacher would give you stickers for doing good work? They did that because we as people love to be able to watch our progress – it keeps us motivated!
Apply this same principle to your financial goal to keep yourself excited about your progress. Create an Excel spreadsheet, draw a thermometer with milestone markers and color it in whenever you hit one, even give yourself a sticker whenever you make a payment. It doesn’t matter what you do or how silly it may seem, as long as it works for you.
5. Reward Yourself Along the Way
At the end of the day, none of us are promised tomorrow, and you should never sacrifice everything that brings you joy for the sake of a goal. If there was something that you had to give up that you really love to accommodate your financial goal, use it as a reward for hitting milestones.
You absolutely love going out to eat, but you had to cut your restaurant budget completely in order to pay off your student loan debt in five years. You could use going out to eat as a reward for every time you pay off $1,000 of your debt. It might even motivate you to put any extra money that you have towards your debt to reach that $1,000 milestone sooner!
Staying Motivated Can be Tough
Staying motivated isn’t easy, but using these five tips will help you immensely along the way. Coupled with your action plan, soon you’ll be checking off all of your financial goals!