Financial journeys can take a long time to complete, and it’s easy to become upset if you don’t see results right away. We work hard today in order to have a better tomorrow, but it doesn’t always feel like we’re progressing.
Fighting for something that won’t pay off for a long time—financial freedom, retirement, or earning a degree that would allow you to make more money, to mention a few examples—can feel like an endless battle with no clear winner. We know we need to believe in ourselves, but when we’re in the thick of it, it might feel like all hope is lost and we’ll never go anywhere.
We cover what to expect between financial milestones in this week’s episode of the wealthy & REGULAR podcast, and read on for some tips on how to keep moving forward while you’re in the middle of your trip.
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1) Coming Out of the Middle of Nowhere
It’s difficult to get to the middle. Your initial enthusiasm for a project or adventure has faded, and while you technically know you’re on the correct track, you’re stuck far enough away from the end objective that you have no idea how you’ll get there. That is to be expected. If you’re in the middle of your financial journey and wondering if it’ll all be worth it, you’re not alone.
What can you do to motivate yourself to keep going when you feel like you’ll never get there?
Fill in the ‘U.
It can be good to think of our goals, whether financial or personal, as a U shape. When you initially start, you’re at the top of the U, full of energy and enthusiasm for the goals you want to achieve.
You move deeper and deeper into your journey as you learn more until you hit the center, where if you don’t push through and put in the extra work, you can stagnate and never reach the peak (i.e., the other side of the U) since you lost momentum.
Sit down with your journal and consider the following questions to help you obtain a fresh perspective.
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Break the problem down into manageable chunks.
Consider the ways you’ve already altered your life. You took action after identifying a problem or a desire. When you find yourself stuck in the middle of your path, remember that a huge objective is simply a collection of smaller goals strung together, and devise a strategy for breaking things down into little, manageable portions.
Working backward, begin with the joyous day you achieve your overall goal—however distant in the future it may be—and consider all the steps necessary to get there, concluding with today.
Then, come up with a plan of action that will assist you to achieve your ultimate goal. You’ll be able to keep your eye on the prize if you have a road map to keep you on course.
Looking back on how far you’ve come is one of the most effective strategies to help you get unstuck.
Make a timeline or a flowchart to help you see where you’ve been and where you want to go in the future.
Things become more tangible in our minds when we write them down, and it helps us recall things we might otherwise forget or dismiss as trivial. Every step you take, no matter how tiny, counts toward your objective.
The longer you have to reach your goal, the more likely you are to get sidetracked and abandon your plan. Make sure you understand where you came from so you can continue on the proper route.
3) Examine Your Approach.
Consider whatever you need to change during your period of contemplation. As we gather new information or events that occur outside of our control, we may need to change our plan and make adjustments. It’s necessary to have a strategy but don’t become so stuck in it that you can’t or won’t make changes as new information or the situation changes.
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It’s something to talk about.
We can’t always see the forest for the trees, but our partners or close friends have recognized where we’ve come from and supported us along the way.
If you can’t seem to get rid of your doubts or thoughts that you’ve made a mistake, find someone who will listen and won’t make the problem about them, and discuss any uneasiness or confusion you’re experiencing. A counselor, therapist, or financial professional may be the ideal person to talk to about how you’re feeling so they can assist you course-correct or reassure you that you’re in the right place.
4) Continue Your Journey.
It’s likely that you have a lofty goal that you’re working hard to achieve. Make sure you remember that vision so you don’t lose sight of your final aim. Pick your head up and stare in the direction you want to travel when you reach the bottom of your U and are struggling.
The truth is that we can’t predict the outcome until we arrive, but we can make sure we keep our eyes forward while assessing our current situation.