My DH and I have been working for years to improve our financial status from one of debt to financial freedom. It has been an uphill climb, but aside from some slips in employment and focus, the trend has generally been up.
However, this winter we experienced some unexpected financial setbacks and found ourselves having to use our emergency resources. We also accrued a very small amount of debt which we had previously paid off in full.
When setbacks happen, it can be really hard to regain that momentum forward again. Often times, our first reaction is to just slump in a chair and ask ourselves, “What’s the point?” “Why are we trying to hard?” “Let’s go out for dinner.”
Counterproductive, I know, but momentum works both ways…you can spiral yourself into a worse position or move positively in an upward direction.
Once we were finished wallowing in our pit of despair, we dusted ourselves off and decided that it was time to get serious again and get our financial house in order again.
One thing I have learned about myself is that I have to psych myself into positive momentum. In this process, I have a few tricks that I use to keep my enthusiasm high and give me the stamina to say “no” or “wait a little bit” to myself.
I have to…
- Select a goal. Make it small and easy. When you trying to initiate that momentum, working on small goal and reaching it can do a lot to boost your psyche for the next one.
- See the goal. Have the goal in a visible place and look at it daily. By my desk, I have hung a piece of paper with the total debt amount. It’s extremely visible so I can’t help, but look at every morning.
- Contribute to the goal. At least weekly, contribute something towards the goal. If it’s a debt or building an emergency fund, put even $5 into it; though, I suggest that if your contribution is small that you make your goal small as well. Instead of an emergency fund of $1000, you might want to start with a goal of $100 and then move the goal posts as you go.
- Inject positive energy. See every contribution as a success.
- Track progress. For example in building an emergency fund of $1000, you would write on the goal sheet every addition to made to the fund…seeing this daily is amazing on psyching yourself up.
- Celebrate goal met. This would be a great time for a dinner out or maybe an ice cream if your budget is small to celebrate your win…and set the next goal.
All the best on your own positive financial momentum. May you be debt free and your emergency fund huge.
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows. – Ralph Marston