Got a good email from a reader which I’m sure a lot of you can appreciate – myself included. Some days I’m on point with all this goal stuff, and other times I just wanna quit and be done with it. It can be exhausting staying focused for years and years to come, not to mention DECADES! It’s not easy to stay on top of…
Here’s what our friend wrote:
I am currently running a house, paying off the mortgage, holding down a steady good paying job and running a budget. I have cut back on everything I can and I can’t cut anything else out. I live frugally and am saving £400 on top of paying all the bills, which is a little difficult, but I am managing well while still enjoying myself (got to allow yourself a few treats right?) I also valet cars as a “side hustle” and am pleased with my progress.
HOWEVER, from a psychological point of view, how do you satisfy yourself with playing “the long game”? I realise that to reach my goals (I have a list of things I would like to do, and places I would like to go, and home improvements to make) I am saving as hard as I possibly can without making myself miserable by not spending anything, I treat myself to “takeout” (We call it a takeaway in the UK) about twice a month and that keeps me happy, but my goals seem really far off.
How do I keep myself satisfied till I reach those goals?
I pretty much told him that a) It’s GREAT he’s incorporated some fun into the whole thing since going hardcore will only break you sooner, and b) I struggle with the same thing. Not as often as when I’m motivated, but I definitely have my days. Especially when it comes to paying off my damn mortgages – those things take freakin’ forever to get rid of!
So how do you stay on top of stuff and continue hustling along? Well, for me it helps breaking thing down in more “chunks” than these huge lofty goals. Take the mortgage situation for example – it’s MUCH easier and do-able in my head to knock out mortgage #2 at $30,000 left than it is the 1st at $280,000. The latter has a much higher interest rate and is *financially* smarter to get rid of first, but that doesn’t do me any good cuz I’d just quit before getting started going that route. So for me – and my personality – knocking down the 2nd mortgage is the best bet. Which is exactly what I’m doing now and have already killed over $25k in it since going this route almost 2 years ago – hooray!!
But it’s still hard. And it sucks. So I take it another step further and then try to chunk it down into $10,000 intervals and throw myself a little mini-party at home when I complete these phases :) I’m the only one in attendance, but it makes me feel good. You can do the same with saving up to a certain amount, or paying off your car loan or student loans, etc, etc.
Another thing I do is ask myself where the money would go if I wasn’t applying it to wherever it’s going? Would it just sit somewhere adding up for no real reason? Would I hit the town every night making it rain wherever I go? Buy a Benz or spend it on blow and hookers? New cute outfits for my baby? (Wow that felt weird going from hookers to babies, haha…).
The answer I usually come up with is “nothing that important.” If it’s not going towards my mortgages or maxing out my retirement funds or into my businesses/etc, it would literally just sit in an account somewhere doing nothing. Granted that seems to be a good position to be in – only having a few uses for extra money – but the point is *asking* myself these questions when I’m in doubt helps me to keep pushing forward more than other stuff. Knowing that the money is going to the #1 priority at all times feels good and that you’re doing the right thing for yourself, ya know?
Letting *time* work its magic for you also helps out immensely. We’ve talked about the power of time plenty before, but it really is some fascinating stuff. Imagine closing your eyes for like 30 years and letting everything continue on as they are automatically and on rotation while the “real” you is out there hustling. Then you snap out of it and check your accounts and financial reports – what would they look like? How much would you have saved or paid off by then? The answer would probably excite the pants off you. All stuff you already know, of course, but the “envisioning of it” can help remind you again why you’re working so hard if you need an extra push that day.
Anyways, those are all the things that help me ounce by ounce when I’m struggling to stay on track. They don’t always work and then I get just as frustrated as everyone else, but it’s the best I’ve come up with so far. Hopefully you guys have better tips to share with us today :)
How do you all stay on top of your long-term goals? What do you do when you just want to quit and give up? Tell us in the comments below to help both our British reader up above and yours truly when he’s grasping for straws… You can’t be on fire all the time!
(Photo by stevendepolo)