There are three things in my life that help me feel powerful and in control: my exercise routine, eating habits, and financial plan. When these are maintained, I know I’m taking a holistic approach to my life.
But each of these things are not always incredibly easy to maintain because, let’s face it, life happens. And sometimes I’d rather sit on my couch eating potato chips and shopping online than going for a run around the park.
We all reach a point where motivation – whether it’s to jump on the treadmill or continue chipping away at a block of debt – wanes. And sometimes motivation wanes for all of these areas at the exact same time.
So what can we do to refocus and realign ourselves with the goals we know are best for our body or our wallet?
These are a few things I’m working on.
Give yourself a break.
If I let guilt take the reigns, I’d feel horrible about decisions that I made in the past and decisions I have yet to make in the future. The funny thing about guilt is that it strips away the little motivation I have left.
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So instead, I’ve learned to give myself a break when I’m not motivated to proactively manage things.
A positive lifestyle habit doesn’t tend to stick until after a series of stops and starts, so it’s okay to take a break before diving in again. I find this works best when I give myself a set amount of time – i.e. one missed workout before starting up again, or a meal out not entirely budget-dictated before returning to my spending plan.
It’s all about moderation.
Revisit your goals and habits.
Sometimes we stop working towards our goals or following a plan we’ve set out for ourselves simply because we’ve become bored. Or, it might not be the goal itself, but the mindless routine we’ve established to reach the finish line.
When I decided I wanted to start an exercise routine, I picked running. Two years later, I was still primarily running and doing nothing else to stay active. This routine wasn’t ideal for my body, and I was becoming incredibly bored.
It was time to mix it up. I threw in a couple of workout classes and added an accountability partner. Suddenly my exercise routine pushed me to my limits and inspired me.
Finances sometimes need to be injected with the same revival tactics. Maybe you need new incentive, or a new plan to get you to a goal you are brimming with excitement about.
Concentrate on one thing at a time.
When I get bit by the “I’m-going-to-change-my-life bug,” I want to make massive strides in every area of my life – all at once. Suddenly my brain is overflowing with ways I can become more active, reconnect with friends, turn my career in a new direction, everything is running on the exact same timeline.
Burnout quickly ensues.
Then, I read something about the power of concentrating on a singular goal or area of your life for a designated amount of time before moving on to the next. Suddenly I realized how much more powerful my energy was when I poured it into one thing at a time.
If your finances are a jumbled mess, it’s easy to lose motivation when you’re faced with the massive task of unraveling it all. Instead, pick one string – credit card debt maybe – and find a way to create a plan for that one area. Once that is complete, pick the next task to tackle – maybe student loan debt.
Pretty soon you might reach a string that unravels the whole, tangled situation.
Look back at your progress.
If you’ve lost motivation, you’ve likely also lost sight of how far you’ve come in your journey – whatever that may be.
Look back to your starting place and chart your course to where you stand today. This will help you reflect on the wins that seemed monumental at the time, but have since lost their luster.
By jump starting your journey, you’ll be able to reflect on even greater strides in the coming days, months, and years.
What are you waiting for?