We are still in January, the month of new goals and wishes for the New Year. Did you make some? If you remember I made myself a list of things I would like to achieve or change this year. I have to admit that the list was on the light side – I have other things I would like to change as well but those I am still working on.
So what is the thing with setting goals for ourselves? It is not really that hard to find things that we want to accomplice, change or achieve but it is often so very hard to actually getting there. Why is that?
What kind of goals are we setting for ourselves?
The goals that are the hardest to reach are often the ones that really inspires a change but on the other hand it is important that the goal is meaningful to us so that we really want to reach it. Ask yourself why you really want this? Is the answer something that is important to you? If yes, it is probably something worth achieving.
A few years back I realized that I want to achieve financial balance and freedom. Why did I want it? To be able to do what I really love for a living and being able to help others do the same while not being dependent on others to make a living. Is that a meaningful goal? For me it is!
What should we focus on?
Once you have your long term goal all planned out it is often better to focus on the process of getting to your goals rather than on the end goal itself. For one, we never know when we are going to reach that goal, and two, the end goal often changes during the process of getting there because… things change!
Also, small steps are mostly better than big steps. They are easier to make and makes it easier to stay on track. After all, it is called baby steps because that is the way we all learn how to walk!
The budget is one of the ways I use to reach my goal of financial balance and freedom, as it sets the framework of how I want my finances to look. I initially tried to cut it all down, all at once to the numbers that I wanted but it was too big of a change. Instead I have found that cutting down a bit at a time (and keeping it down!), starting with the things that were easier for me and with time moving over to make cuts in the areas that were harder. What I have learned is that consistency really does pay off and that it does get easier with time.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
Generally it is always better, in my opinion, to be an optimist rather than a pessimist. I tend to believe that life is simply easier that way. Focus on the things you want to add to your life rather than the things you want to get rid of. Instead of thinking about it as “missing out”, think about it as gaining what you really want.
I can choose to be annoyed that we already used our monthly restaurant budget on the first week of the month or that I will have to wait with that new pair of shoes, and instead focus on how great it is that we are saving and spending less so that I can work less and eat lunch with my kids on most weekdays!
But what if I fail?
We all fail at one point or another due to the excellent fact that we are not perfect! So what happens when we do? We get up, leave it behind and move on. Don’t let small failures set you back.
I went over the limit on my grocery budget this week, but if I stay focused there is a big chance that next week I won’t! My philosophy is that even if I go two steps forward and one back, I am still moving in the right direction.
Like Anne is told in my favorite book Anne of Green Gables: “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it”.