I am convinced that sometimes we struggle to choose between options for which there should be no struggle. We know the best option. We know it 100% from our fingers to our toes. We know which decisions will bring us closer toward our long term goals and happiness and which ones will simply make life easier in the moment. But life has a habit of getting in the way and some of us make a living out of complicating the simple things in life.
- Should I make a salad for dinner or microwave the low fat, highly processed box of whatever from the freezer?
- Should I finance a new car that will cost more than my rent or keep driving my 2009 car that gets great gas mileage and gives me no worries?
- Credit card number one is maxed out. Should I open another one so I can buy that shiny new widget that I have had my eye on?
- I am really stressed out. I can’t decide if I should go to the gym or to the bar for a few beers.
LIFE IS SIMPLE IN MY LITTLE BLUE KAYAK in the middle of the lake but when I climb back onto the dock all of my commitments and responsibilities resume their struggle for my time, attention, finances etc… We need to keep our long term goals up close and personal in our daily lives in order to make them part of our day to day decisions.
Ways I keep goals up close and personal
- My written goals are on a computerized sticky note on my screen saver. They stare at me every time I touch my computer.
- They are a list item on my Google Keep page which I use to track everything that needs tracking and that gets reviewed daily.
- I have a few mantras that I repeat to myself as I walk the dog, drive to work or whenever a negative thought creeps into my brain. One of these is “financially free, financially free, financially free that’s me”. Another is “physically fit, fiscally fit, physically fit, fiscally fit.
- I take 10-15 to myself every morning where I just sit quietly with my eyes closed not doing or thinking about anything. It is often during this quiet time that my AHA moments and concrete ideas for how to reach my goals reveal themselves. When this happens, I quickly write it down as life has a habit of getting in my way!
- I have a journal next to my bed where I write down my AHA moments, my goals, my mantras and affirmations. I often read it before going to sleep.
One of my AHA moments was: I will reach my goals by making one good decision after another.
In 2015 one of my major goals was to be debt free. My plan for eliminating $15,000 of debt came to me during my quiet time. I immediately wrote down the 3 step plan in my journal and 6 months later I was debt free! My plan was to immediately throw $5000 at the debt, then make double payment for 12 months (or $400 per month) and then to throw another $5200 from my emergency fund at the debt.
To be honest I did not follow this plan. But having it was a reminder that getting out of debt was not only my goal but it was an achievable goal. I met it by making one good financial decision after another for 6 months! Daily decisions get easier to meet when your long term goals are always on your mind. I met my goals of maxing out my ROTH IRA and HSA and took a good sized step out of the rat race of full time employment. More on the AHA moment that led to that in a later post!
Keep your goals in mind all day every day and the details of how to achieve them will come to you. Otherwise they are just nice ideas that are quickly forgotten when the stress of life gets in the way.
I think I will go make myself a big salad for lunch as I don’t have any low fat, highly processed food in my freezer!