Achieve Your Financial Goals By Focusing on this One Thing

by Travis Pizel · 8 comments

“Today is the only important day. There are 86,400 seconds in a day, and how you use those are critical.”

As someone who’s training to run a marathon next June, I’m constantly bookmarking inspirational quotes and videos I find online. The above quote is from a video collage posted by a fitness facebook page, that is six minutes of pure motivation.

My interpretation of this quote is that today is only day you have control over. Today should command your full attention, and requires all of your effort and energy.

Yesterday is done and gone. You cannot change what you did yesterday, whether you made good choices or bad ones. If you did well, then use it as momentum to help you do well again today. If you made poor choices, use them as motivation to make today different.

This is especially important for financial choices and spending habits.

Focus On Today

Use your focus for today to achieve your big financial goals. Tomorrow is a new day that you can’t control until it gets here. You don’t know what forks you’ll encounter, or what decisions you’ll need to make. You cannot contemplate decisions for choices that have not yet presented themselves.

So instead of focusing on what you cannot change yesterday, and obsessing about what you have to do tomorrow, focus on today. It’s the only day you have control over. Today is the most important day.

In my training for a marathon, I need to ensure that I’m giving my body the right fuel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am following my training program exactly, and getting a good night’s sleep. Yesterday is gone, so now I have to concentrate on tomorrow when it comes. My goal is to make the right decisions today — it’s a small but important step.

3 Ways to Make the Right Decisions

When I was working to pay off $109,000 of credit card debt I had to ensure that my wife and I followed our budget process together. We reviewed our finances and updated our spending plan daily. It was our goal to spend only what we had in the budget. You cannot unspend the choices you made yesterday.

Here are 3 ways to ensure you make the right decisions today.

  1. Make the small wins count. Small steps are just as important (if not more so) than the big steps, so take time to acknowledge your wins and celebrate them. Even something like using a coupon at the grocery store, or negotiating a lower cable bill, are steps that deserve to be rewarded.
  2. Check-in with an accountability partner. Find someone who is in a similar situation as you and partner up together. Check-in with them if you’re having a rough day, or feel the need to overspend. They can help encourage and motivate you to stay the course.
  3. Put reminders in place. It’s easy to forget why we’re trying to make the right financial decisions, so put a sticky note on your fridge, or hang a picture in your office. Put reminders in place where they will trigger your motivation to make the right choice.

To be successful you need to have more days where you make the right decisions than the days where you make the wrong ones. Don’t let a bad decision from yesterday, or last week, keep you from working hard to make the right decisions today! As the good days outnumber the bad, you’ll still be getting closer and closer to your goal.

Whether you’re training for a marathon, trying to pay off credit card debt, or changing your spending habits, remember this; today is the most important day.

What’s one thing you each day to make better decisions? How do you stop stressing over situations you can’t control?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • sofy says:

    Help,
    Hello David, I desperately need your advice, I have money invested
    In mutual funds, but their not doing very well. How can I invest my money to watch it grow.
    Thanks Sofy

  • Kenny Schneider says:

    I’m with David! It’s easy for me to say that I only need to focus on today, but I always seem to use past performance to predict the future. If my past wasn’t so hot, I end up focusing on how terrible I have been, rather than focusing on what I can do better in the future.

    As you said Travis, the more we focus on the small wins of the day, the more accomplished I feel. As long as those small wins align with our big goals, we can’t lose! 🙂

  • David Ning says:

    I am a worrywart, so not beating myself up about yesterday is one thing I need to become better at.

    I shall focus solely on today, today!

  • Thanks for the reminder to control what we can today.

    • Travis Pizel says:

      We all need a little reminder every now and then, Emily. Focusing only on what is immediately in front of you makes the day a whole lot easier to deal with for me. 🙂

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