Regularly setting financial goals, and mapping out a plan to reach those goals, is a practice that can transform your life. The problem is, while it’s fun to think of big goals and imagine your dream life, it can be hard to find the motivation to take action. And actually sticking with the plan once you’ve created it, is even more of a hurdle.
So how do you stay motivated to reach big goals when you struggle to keep going, or can’t find the inspiration to take the first step? If you have trouble staying on track, one of these unusual but fun techniques will no doubt help get your fire back. (They’ve certainly helped me.) Here are five ways to keep your eyes on the prize and actually enjoy the process.
1. Focus on One Thing at a Time
The quickest way to not get anything done is to attempt doing everything at the same time. Not only does this overwhelm and discourage you, it can actually have the opposite effect. This is something I’ve (unfortunately) had to learn over and over.
It’s tempting to want to work simultaneously on many things, but science has shown that multi-tasking is a myth, and without focus you’ll find it hard to accomplish anything.
2. Have Fun With Post-It Notes
Once you have your big, audacious financial goals laid out, grab a pack of Post-It Notes and start repeatedly writing those goals over and over. Pick some brightly colored Post-Its, and use some colored pens or markers to spice things up.
Next, strategically place your notes around your house in spots you won’t miss reading them. For example, stick these goals on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, and even in your car. When you’re constantly reminded of the reasons why you’re working so hard, you’ll feel motivated to keep going when times get tough.
3. Write in a Daily Journal
Writing is a practice that really helps clarify the “why” of my personal life. Take out a piece of paper and a pen, or fire up your laptop, and just write. Don’t think about the negatives, or how long it will take to reach your goals, just write about your dreams and hopes. Spend time writing out your failures too, but don’t let that be your focus — remember the positives.
You could also come at this from a personal essays angle and share your experiences on a blog, or on Facebook or Instagram. But if free writing isn’t your thing, then make a running list of everything you’ve accomplished for the day. Every time your motivation starts to slip refer back to your “accomplished” lists.
4. Find an Accountability Partner
Reach out to someone who you share similar interests with and see if they will become your accountability partner. I have an accountability partner that I check in with on a weekly basis. Every Monday she and I share our goals, and then keep in touch with our progress via email. We strategize, offer support, share our struggles and encourage one another.
Having someone you can openly share goals and problems with will do wonders for your morale. They can be the support you need when you feel your own motivation waning, and help give you the added inspiration you need to keep moving forward on your goals.
The best accountability partner is someone who’s going through the same thing, or is on a similar path as you. Perhaps you share the same ideas, opinions, and beliefs about money.
5. Create a Vision Board
This is the only thing on the list that I have yet to try myself, but I do have a friend who swears by vision boards. What is a vision board, and how can it help you stay focused on your financial goals?
A vision board is a place for you to put pictures, quotes, and other inspirations that will give you a visual reminder of your dreams. You can use a poster board, a wall in your room, a binder, or even a Pinterest board, to create your own. A vision board helps you visualize and therefore manifest the life you want.
It’s can also be really exciting to look at the cool photos, quotes and other images everyday, that display evidence of the reward at the end of your goal.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
There’s one super important task you should be doing every time you set a goal, and that is to follow through.
If you’re struggling for motivation try a few of these techniques until you find one that helps. And remember, whether or not you achieve your goals is completely in your hands. It’s up to you to build a life you love.