While doing my workout this morning, I realized that maintaining our financial goals is really no different than maintaining our physical ones. It takes work each and every day to stay on course, always keeping the end goals in mind.
I spent the last two months taking a beating from an increasingly popular DVD workout system called “Insanity.” It was, bar none, the most difficult physical accomplishment of my life. It had been a long time since I worked out regularly, and although I haven’t yet reached by top fitness goals, the changes in my body and cardio endurance cannot go unnoticed. Last Monday, I started another program, with those end goals in mind.
All the effort I’ve put towards staying committed to this endeavor is undoubtedly the reason I was able to finish the two-month stint. That same level of commitment keeps me pushing the “play” button each day. While doing my workout this morning, I realized that maintaining our financial goals is really no different than maintaining our physical ones. It takes work each and every day to stay on course, always keeping the end goals in mind.
Starting off right keeps you right
Just like working out early makes me more mindful of what I put in my mouth for the rest of the day, making one smart financial move begets more of the same. Think of it financially in terms of pay periods. Keep your commitments to pay things off or save each pay period. Your momentum builds as you push through the week or month and as you near the end, you’re more motivated than ever to get good results.
Set realistic goals
I know, this couldn’t be more cliché, but it’s just so darn true. Just like physical fitness experts urge you to look for decreases in inches or just 10 percent of body weight to start, small goals keep the fiscal train puffing along, too. Target a bill to pay off, one credit card to eliminate or set up and maintain a recurring deposit to savings. Small victories lead to long-term success in both the physical and the financial realm.
I’ve written frequently about setbacks, how common they are and how they don’t matter much as long as you flip right back to your original plan. In the frugal world, just like the fitness one, it’s easy to feel like giving up when something goes wrong. Having the resolve to power through a set or a setback gives us the strength to make it to the end of the finish line.
As you gain momentum and feel your successes start to build, make sure to keep yourself challenged. As weight builders add pounds to ensure muscles get stronger, travelers on the path to financial freedom need to keep challenged as well. Have you taken a fresh look at the budget? If you’re out of debt, do you have your emergency fund saved yet? What about your retirement nest egg? Keeping your financial plan current allows you to track your progress and move toward your goals with ease.
Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and black lab. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality.