New Years Resolutions are three weeks in our rear view mirrors and we are starting to realize that our resolutions are slowly becoming unobtainable. Our motivation is waning, and we are beginning to have this hopeless feeling. Like our lives are never going to change.
“But we said this year is going to be different!” “Why are these resolutions so darn hard? “I thought on January 1st that this year was going to be life changing and I'd be able to accomplish all my new year goals.” DOH!!
Do you ever feel like this? Do these statements resign-ate with you, and then life punches you in the mouth? Often times I begin to begin to have this sinking feeling in my stomach when February 1st roles around and my entire year's goals have crumbled. All I have left are a bunch of broken pieces left. I HATE that feeling! So much so that I did a few things about it!
Over the last several years I've implemented a lot of new techniques to stay focus on my goals. Techniques that have helped me get back “on the horse” and not give up. Here are my top four techniques for getting unstuck from your normal financial routine:
Set monthly goals
If you are setting a “New Year's resolution“, then often times these goals are hard to stay focused on a goal that is for the next 365 days. For a lot of us 365 days feels like to big of a task. Start by making your yearly goal, and then breaking those up into monthly goals. For instance, if I want to save $1000 this year, then I need to save $83/month. So start by just trying to save one months goal of $83. After you accomplish month one, then you feel like you've actually accomplished something. Move onto month two, and do it again. The point here is that monthly goals help you focus on a yearly goals that are a lot more realistic and achievable.
Get in the Word
Often times I lose focus on why I'm making goals and who I'm making my goals for. I find that God's Word is the greatest barometer of where my heart is at and judging the intentions of my heart. Is my goal for the glory of God or is it for my own edification? I'm often reminded of Isaiah 55:11: “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Often times we take that verse to mean when we share God's Word with someone else. However, I find the verse very applicable to my own life, character, and sifting my intentions. I'm challenged daily by God's Word to do things for His glory.
Break your goals down to the smallest actionable task
If you have a goal of starting a blog, then start by pre-writing three articles in month one, then month two buy a name space, and month three purchase graphics for your articles, and month four publish your first set of content. The point here is start small! When you think you've gotten something that is small, then see if there is any way you can make that goal even smaller. These small actionable tasks will feel much more accomplish-able then one 365 day goal.
Invest in friendships and accountability
I have good network of friends that I allow to hold me accountable for what I'm doing with my life, and where I'm investing my time and energy. These friends understand me, and ask me the tough questions. Questions that are just surfacy. These friendships are people that are like minded, challenging, encouraging, and help me to not lose focus on the Lord, my wife, my kids, and help me evaluate my life choices. I can't tell you how important it is to have a good network of friends!
These are just a small example of what I've developed over the years to help me get out of a financial rut. I know there are a lot more ideas out there. I'd love to hear how you stay focused on your goals, and get out of a financial rut. Leave a comment below!
I think it’s important to point out that you can restart a goal at any time. If you messed up or lost sight of your goal, that doesn’t mean you just shrug your shoulders and walk away. At least it shouldn’t, but I think many do. Kind of like the mantra that many would-be cigarette smokers go by: “Don’t quit quitting.”
Money Beagle – I couldn’t agree more! I don’t like the day of January 1st and everyone thinking that resolutions can only start on that day! You can start or “quit” something on any day! It is extremely freeing when you think of it that way. Thanks for leaving a comment!
We felt financially stuck at the end of 2016. I wanted to increase our savings rate to 60%, but we couldn’t find a way to cut expenses to make it happen. After freeing our minds a bit, we got creative with meal-planning and managed to come in under-budget for the month on food! We increased our savings rate to 55%, which is still fantastic.
There’s almost always something more you can do. :)
Mrs. Picky – great job! That is truly amazing! I hate that when you feel like you want to cut just a little bit more, but there is no wiggle room in the fixed budget and the variable budget already feels tight! What a great inspiration!
Good advice Charlie!